Monday, 17 January, 2022

Students continue movement for half bus fare

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 1 December, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Students continue movement for half bus fare

Students of various schools, colleges and universities are still on the streets for their nine-point demand including half bus fare and safer roads.

They took position outside the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) office from 1:30 pm on Tuesday and said they would continue to do so until the government issues an official gazette accepting their nine-point demand, which includes halving fares for students on all public transports across the country. The protesters said the government had given students hope and made many promises during the safe road movement in 2018, but none of them was turned into reality.

Police confirmed that the students were protesting at the BRTA office, but the road was clearer than the past several days.

“They are not halting traffic movement and we are behaving nicely with the students. As far as I know, the BRTA is holding a meeting and they will speak with the students soon,” Banani police station Officer-in-Charge Nur-E-Azam Mia said.

Meanwhile, the bus owners have accepted the demand of student protesters for a 50 per cent discount on bus fare for students in the Dhaka Metropolitan Area.

However, the discounted fare, to be implemented from Wednesday, will only be applied between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.

The discount will not apply on government holidays, weekends, and other days when educational institutions are closed.

To receive the discount, students will have to show photo identification from their educational institutions.

The announcement was made at a press conference by Khandker Enayet Ullah of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association on Tuesday.

“This decision is only for the Dhaka Metropolitan Area,” he said. “It is not applicable for areas outside the city. The announcement has been made on behalf of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association.”

Under pressure from transport owners, the government raised bus fares by 27 per cent in response to a 23 per cent increase in diesel fuel. Students then took to the streets to demand a 50 per cent discount on fares.

The death of Notre Dame College student Nayeem Hasan, who was killed in an accident with a city corporation garbage truck on Nov 24, added further fuel to the protests.

The BRTA met with private bus owners twice, on November 25 and November 27, to try to institute the same discount, but the meetings ended without a decision on the issue.

Instead, bus owners demanded a subsidy during the Nov 27 meeting. Transport owner leader Khandaker Enayet Ullah had claimed at the time that ‘80 per cent’ of bus owners who operated in Dhaka city were ‘poor’.

Then on Monday, Md Mainuddin, an SSC candidate from Ekramunnesa School, was run over by a bus operated by Green Anabil Paribahan on DIT Road. The bus was allegedly racing another bus.

His death further ignited tensions, with an angry mob setting fire to at least eight buses and vandalising several others.

Meanwhile, agitating students have categorically rejected a proposal from public transport owners to halve fares for students applicable only in Dhaka.

On Tuesday morning, Dhaka Road Transport Owners' Association General Secretary Khandaker Enayet Ullah announced that public transport owners had agreed to allow half fares from students only in Dhaka city from December 1.