Govt plans to increase CNG-run auto fare
The government is planning to almost double the fare of CNG-run auto rickshaws.
In response to strong persuasion from auto rickshaw owners, the communications ministry has formed a committee late last year for suggestions.
The committee, headed by chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), is also comprised of auto rickshaw owners and leaders of drivers association.
The BRTA sent its suggestions on the revised fare to the ministry last week and waiting for approval, said Aiybur Rahman Khan, head of the committee.
As per the proposal, the fare is fixed at Tk 25 for the first two kilometres, up from Tk 14, while the charge for each subsequent kilometre will be Tk 7, which is now Tk 6. The waiting charge is proposed at Tk 1.25 per minute in place of current Tk 1, said BRTA sources.
The committee also suggested raising the daily deposit for drivers to Tk 600 from Tk 450.
The BRTA chairman said the commuters had last seen fare hike for CNG-run auto rickshaw in 2007.
"We have asked the owners and drivers to abide by the rules and bring order in the sector if the fare hike is implemented," he said, adding, "A driver must go to the destinations as per a passenger's request and run on meter without charging extra while a owner should charge the official daily deposit from a driver."
He said, "The route permit of an auto rickshaw will be cancelled if a owner or driver fails to abide by the rules."
Meanwhile, passengers reacted sharply to the new government move. Even BRTA officials have doubts that the fare hike would bring order in the sector.
"I already spend extra money on transport and the proposed hike would cost almost half my salary," said Sabera Sultana, a resident of Uttara working in a private company.
"The government has had several talks with the owners and drivers on fixing fair fare for all. But we still have to cope with their disregard for the law," said a banker.
In response to public reaction, ATM Nazmul Hasan, general secretary of Dhaka City CNG Auto-rickshaw Owners' Association, said, "The existing government rate is no longer cost effective for us, as it was fixed three years ago and the maintenance cost of an auto rickshaw has increased significantly by this time."
A tyre used to cost Tk 800 when the rate was introduced in 2007. Now it is Tk 1,700. Moreover, the price of lubricants went up to Tk 220 from Tk 120 let alone expenses for garage, renewal of papers, accident costs etc, said Nazmul Hasan.
"The revised fare would bring order in the sector," he said. He, however, failed to reply how they plan to resolve the existing practice of violating law and reduce public suffering.
About 13,700 four-stroke CNG-run three wheelers were introduced in Dhaka city in 2003. Since then passengers have been complaining of the drivers not complying with the official fare and frequently tampering with metres while the drivers of owners demanding too much daily deposit.