Service 'local', fare special
Despite transport owners' vow to stop “seating service” from Saturday and charge passengers the BRTA-fixed fare rates only, commuters had to pay extra for their trips in the capital yesterday.
“They loaded buses with passengers but did not reduce the fare. Their income has doubled, so has our suffering,” said Mamtazuddin who travelled from Jatrabari to Shahbagh at Tk 20 on Shikhar Paribahan.
The fare was Tk 10-12 more than usual bus fares for the route.
To monitor whether buses were charging extra or operating in the name of so-called sitting service, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) in association with Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity's vigilance teams conducted mobile courts at five points in the city.
However, many buses used other routes to avoid the courts, which intensified transport crisis in the city.
“They will operate buses at their whim ... It's a complete anarchy,” said Azmat Zaman who had to wait for a bus for about an hour at Sayedabad.
Transport owners on April 4 announced that “seating”, “gate-lock”, “nonstop” and “special services” would stop operating in the capital after April 15.
However, many buses maintained their self-devised services.
Trans Silva, a bus of a privately-run transport service, which plies Jatrabari-Gulistan-Shahbagh-Mirpur-1 route, was seen not letting any passenger for Gulistan board the bus.
Mamun, driver of the bus, could not show the government-fixed chart of bus fare to this correspondent.
At a meeting on Saturday with officials of BRTA, transport owners agreed to follow the fare chart set by the government.
Dhaka Metro's Regional Transport Committee, in September 2015, published on the BRTA website a fare chart for bus service providers following discussions with bus owners.
According to chart, the fare for bus and minibus is Tk 1.7 and Tk 1.6 for per kilometre. The minimum fare was fixed at Tk 7 and Tk 5 respectively.
MOBILE COURT DRIVE
Five executive magistrates from BRTA led the mobile courts at Asad Gate, Agargaon, west side of Airport, in front of Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh and Changpai restaurant at Jatrabari.
Transport leaders in Jatrabari area were seen near Changpai restaurant passing idle time instead of enforcing the regulations before the magistrate appeared at the scene around 11:15am.
Earlier, the leaders took position on the opposite side of the road, making it quite impossible for them to monitor the buses starting for Shahbagh, Mirpur, Gabtoli and Uttara from the other end of Jatrabari.
Abul Kalam, president of Sayedabad Bus Owners' Association, told The Daily Star around 10:30am that the vigilance team did not want to stop the buses, as that could have added more suffering to office-going passengers.
There were sufficient buses there at that time.
But as soon as the mobile court began its activities, the number of buses started to decrease. Most of the buses then used Shahid Faruk Road as diversion.
BRTA Magistrate Sujit Howlader said they had fined some buses for having carriers and angles. Asked about high fares, he said most of the vehicles used other routes to avoid the vigilance team, and for that reason he could not check properly.
Contacted, Khondaker Enayet Ullah, general secretary of Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity, said the decision of stopping special service was made in order to check transport crisis in the capital and monitor no extra fare was charged.
“Many charged high fares and had no fare chart,” he said, adding that the drive would be conducted on the first three days of every week.
“We'll continue it [the drive] until discipline is established.”