No hike in train fare now: Minister
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan today said they have decided not to hike train fare as of now, giving a hint that the fare may be raised in near future.
“I can tell you that we are yet to think about increasing railway fare. This is the main point. However, we have to adjust all things in near future,” Sujan told journalists after a contract signing ceremony at Rail Bhaban in Dhaka.
The minister came up with the comments after several newspapers ran reports that Bangladesh Railway mulls hiking passenger and freight fares to improve services and minimise losses.
According to the reports quoting railway sources, prices of passenger tickets are likely to go up by more than 25 percent as per a preliminary proposal and the Railway Ministry has formed a committee led by a joint secretary to this end.
However, Sujan today said that the committee has been formed to take information about the train fare of neighbouring countries and fares of buses and other carriers and evaluate those to prepare future plan.
“As a minister, I have sought report for my personal learning so that concrete decision can be made upon taking your advice. However, neither Bangladesh Railway nor the Ministry of Railways has taken decision to hike train fare as of now,” he said.
Mentioning that train fare of Dhaka to Gazipur is only Tk 18 to 20 while bus fare is Tk 100 to 120, he said people want different facilities but raise question when the issue of rising train fare came to fore.
The minister said railway is a mode of transport for common people and they will keep the matter in mind while making any decision about raising train fare.
NO LEASE OF TRAIN AFTER 2020
The railways minister said that the lease given to private operators by the Bangladesh Railway for operating trains will not be extended after 2020.
He also called upon the railway officials to enhance their capacity to operate all trains on their own.
“We have leased out 73 trains to private operators. After expiry of the contract in 2020, we will operate those trains on our own. Contract won’t be extended anyway,” he said.
The minister said BR has to shoulder the responsibilities for any misdeeds of the private operators. “This can’t go on. We will not accept such uneven contracts,” he said.
“After taking charge of the ministry, I have given message to the officials that we will operate all trains on our own. We will not lease out any train anymore,” he added.