Bus operators want fare hike ahead of Eid
Despite complaints about overcharging for tickets ahead of Eid, private bus operators yesterday urged the government to increase the price of each ticket by Tk 50.
They made the demand at a meeting between Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and stakeholders, including leaders of transport owners and workers bodies.
BRTA had organised the meeting to stop operation of unfit vehicles during the Eid rush.
The minister asked bus operators not to charge extra ahead of Eid when Abul Kalam, president of Dhaka Road Transport Owners' Association (DRTOA), requested the minister that ticket prices be increased by Tk 50 at least.
“We have to return [to Dhaka] with almost no passengers [during the Eid rush], so please let us increase the price to meet fuel costs,” he said. Several other owners also echoed him.
In response, Quader said, "I cannot say that officially.” Osman Ali, general secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation, then took over saying, “That's okay.”
“You need not announce this, but you [minister], secretary [road transport and bridge ministry secretary] and BRTA chairman are aware of this step,” he said, making it clear that the ticket prices will go up.
Bus operators on May 30 had started selling advance bus tickets and many passengers alleged that they were selling advance tickets at Tk 30 to Tk 120 more than regular fares.
Quader asked noted columnist Syed Abul Moksud, who was present at the meeting, to say something about the bus owners' demand.
“Considering the condition of roads, if prices go up by an extra Tk 50 instead of “more”, I don't think it will be an injustice to passengers,” Moksud reportedly said.
“Whenever I call you [transport leaders], you always try to take benefit of the situation,” Quader said.
DISAPPOINTED WITH ENGINEERS & CONTRACTORS
Blaming a section of unscrupulous engineers and contractors for the poor condition of roads, the minister expressed his resentment.
“I have told the engineers...due to poor work standards, road washed away with just a little rain. What is the meaning of constructing such roads then? Why are we cheating people?” the minister said.
He directed the authority concerned to take action against such corrupt officials. The minister also directed that the work orders of contractors carrying out poor works be cancelled.
NO TO UNFIT VEHICLES
Citing that unfit vehicles are the main reason behind the traffic tailback during Eid rush, the minister said transport owners and workers are the worst sufferers when such vehicles ply the roads.
“I want assurance from you [transport leaders] that no such vehicles will be allowed to on roads ...” he said.
Khandaker Enayetullah, general secretary of (DRTOA), said they would take steps to ensure unfit vehicles don't make it past exit points of the capital.
Enayetullah expressed his displeasure over BRTA's inability in finding workshops where unfit buses are given the go-ahead to ply roads.