A government-formed committee has proposed fixing a bus fare of Tk 2.2 per kilometre on the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur Bridge route, where a single company will operate all the buses on a pilot basis from April 1.
The proposed fare is almost 30 percent higher than the current fares in Dhaka city.
The committee led by Nur Mohammad Mazumder, chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), made the decision at a meeting at the BRTA headquarters on Sunday.
"We will submit our proposal to the ministry [of Road Transport and Bridges], which will finalise the fare," Nur Mohammad told The Daily Star yesterday.
The Bus Route Rationalisation Committee designated to bring all bus services under a few companies aims to bring discipline on city roads. It decided to begin with the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur Bridge route.
After the previous meeting of the committee on January 19, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said the city corporation directed the BRTA to update within five days the information on the public buses operating on the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur Bridge route.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, who is the co-chair of the committee, said there will be 34 bus stops on the route and buses will not be allowed to stop outside the specific places.
However, there are doubts as to whether the pilot programme can start on time.
30 PERCENT HIKE
Asked why the committee proposed increasing the rate, BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad said transport company owners present at Sunday's meeting argued that the bus fare had not been hiked since 2013, even though the prices of many essentials have risen multiple times.
Khondaker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, said another committee in 2019 proposed increasing the rate to Tk 2.21 per km.
"We just called for implementing that proposal," he told this correspondent yesterday.
Contacted, Mozammel hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, said the increased fare would be a further burden on the passengers.
Although the government has fixed Tk 1.7 per km in Dhaka, many bus operators charge more from commuters in absence of proper monitoring.
"People will have to bear the additional burden. It might put the passengers and transport workers at loggerheads," he added.
Besides, it will give bus operators on other routes an opportunity to increase fares, he added.
DOUBTS OVER TIMELY LAUNCH
Enayet, also a member of the bus route rationalisation committee, said he didn't think the project could be launched on April 1 on a pilot basis.
Transport owners were supposed to get a loan of Tk 3 lakh to refurbish each of the buses, but they have yet to get the loan.
"It will take two to three months to refurbish the buses after receiving the loans," he said, adding that the guidelines to operate the buses under one company have not been finalised.