The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is going to issue instructions to transport passengers in half of the seats in compliance with the government’s Corona Hygiene Rules. Instructions may be issued today, Wednesday, stating all the conditions of the meeting at BRTA. Leaders of bus owners’ organizations will take part in it. Bus owners can offer to increase bus fares as opposed to half passenger transport.
The government issued a health notification on Monday to prevent the corona infection. The 6-point circular No. of 11 states, “Trains, buses, and launches can carry half the capacity of passengers. Drivers and assistants of all types of vehicles must have a COVID-19 Vaccinated certificate.”
However, the notification did not say anything about increasing the fare of public transport. Although the train fare has never increased by transporting half of the passengers, the bus fare has increased every time. The issue of collection of additional rent was mentioned in the government notification and instructions of BRTA. A few days ago the transport fare was increased. So the question remains whether the directive will be issued by increasing the bus fare this time.
When contacted, Moshiur Rahman Ranga, president of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, said, “The bus will continue to run as it did before with half the passengers. It has to be the same as before, with half the passengers running the bus with 60 percent increase in fares.”
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Asked whether the fare for inter-district buses would also be increased by 60 percent, Ranga said, “If the fares are not increased, it will not be possible to run buses.” He said he would not be present at the meeting, adding that Enayet Ullah would propose a fare hike at their meeting today (Wednesday).
Khandaker Enayet Ullah, general secretary of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association, said without elaborating, “We will abide by the decision of the government. You will know after the meeting what will be discussed in the meeting.”
The issue of raising fares will be raised at the meeting, said the general secretary of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Hossain Majumdar. He said the issue of raising bus fares would be discussed. It is impossible to run a bus without increasing the fare.
BRTA chairman Nur Mohammad Majumder said the meeting was not called to increase bus fares. This meeting is to inform the conditions of observance of corona hygiene.
According to BRTA sources, bus owners already have the experience of how to follow hygiene rules in Corona. The reason for sitting with the BRTA bus owners before issuing the directive is that the government has mentioned half-passenger transport in this year’s notification but has not said anything about raising fares. However, the BRTA may issue separate instructions for buses with some additional conditions, which may include a decision to increase fares.
However, after the fare hike a few days ago, the owners should not raise the fare again, said Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary-general of the Passenger Welfare Association. He complained that the owners were never called upon to discuss hygiene. There are other misconceptions behind this meeting.
Mozammel said the BRTA had no choice but to listen to the bus owners. BRTA will do whatever the owners say.