Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Thursday called upon transport owners to consider the demand from demonstrating students for half bus fares, but owners have declined to accept the demand.
Obaidul Quader came up with the call following an ultimatum issued by students to decrease the bus fare by Saturday. Students have been staging demonstrations across the capital demanding half fare on buses.
The government on November 7 increased the bus fare by around 27 percent following demands from the bus owners in the wake of fuel price hike.
“We have already asked Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) to decrease fare for students at a reasonable rate,” Quader said while addressing a council session of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association at Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh in the capital.
Addressing the same programme, Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Secretary General Khandakar Enayetullah said there is no scope for half fare on privately-owned buses.
But, he said, there is a scope for allowing half pass on state-run buses.
Although Road Transport Minister said that they have already given instruction to the BRTC to allow half pass for students, BRTC Chairman Tajul Islam said they have not received any order in this regard.
Acknowledging the allegations that bus owners and workers have been charging additional fares than the government-fixed rate, Quader came down heavily on transport owners and workers as the government has to face the public wrath. He said that they would have to get tough with transport owners.
“You (owners) vowed that you’ll keep the pledge. If you don’t, we’ll have to deal with it with an iron hand,” he said.