Different rights bodies have criticised the bus fare hike as excessive, unjust and unacceptable.
The hike in bus and launch fares will put extra burden on the low-and fixed-income people of the country.
After the meeting between the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and Bangladesh Road Transports Owners Association, BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said that the fare hike will be applicable only to the diesel-run buses.
But terming the decision unrealistic, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Chairman Golam Rahman questioned, “If the owners of diesel-run buses increase fare, why did they stop operating CNG-run buses during the strike?”
“The government will not be able to stop CNG-run bus owners from charging extra fare as most passengers don’t know which buses are run by CNG and which buses by diesel. And there is no reason to believe that the government will be able to monitor the activities of bus owners strictly and secure public interests,” he said.
Golam Rahman also said that the transport owners have realised their demands by holding the people hostage and the government has become bound to accept their demands under pressure.
“The rate of bus fare hike is excessive, unjust and unacceptable. It will affect the passengers and it seems that the fare of goods-laden transports will also increase as associations of goods-carrying vehicle owners are continuing strike,” the CAB chairman said adding that other businessmen will also take this as excuse to increase the prices of different commodities in the market.
Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity (BJKS) secretary general Mozammel Haque Chowdhury termed the latest decision as cheating and said that additional fares are being forced on passengers.
“When the government decided to increase the price of CNG gas in 2015, the bus owners said that more than demanded 80 percent buses in Dhaka and Chattogram were run by CNG. Now when the government has decided to increase the price of diesel, they are telling that over 90 per cent of their buses are run by diesel,” he said.
“If so many buses are run by diesel, how are the CNG filling station owners running their businesses?” he questioned.
“Following the decision of increasing diesel price, top government officials told that the decision on readjustment would be taken after discussing with all stakeholders. But they haven’t kept their words,” he said.
The BJKS secretary general also said that this kind of public interest related decision should not be taken in closed door meeting.
“This bus fare hike is prescribed by the transport owners. We condemn the decision vehemently and request the government to review it and consider the interests of the passengers,” he added.
Ordinary passengers strongly criticised the transport owners for calling sudden countrywide strike and expressed displeasure for their unbound sufferings in the last couple of days.
Secretary General of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association Khandaker Enayet Ullah told the Daily Sun over phone that if the government took decision immediate after the diesel price hike, they would not stop operating buses.
When asked about how his association would ensure that that the extra fare would not be charged in CNG-run buses, he said that around 99 per cent buses are run by diesel and suggested this correspondent to visit his office.