New fares not fully enforced
Commuters in the capital yesterday expressed frustration over the transport fare hike for the second time in four months.
However, many bus operators refrained from charging extra fare, fearing backlash from the passengers. Only a few bus services operating in the capital and on the inter-district routes charged extra fares yesterday following the price hike of fuel and compressed natural gas (CNG).
"We didn't implement the government decision to hike fare fearing anarchy," said Rafiqul Hossain Kajol, president of Association of Bus Companies.
He added that they will keep buses off the street if there is any chaos centring the hike.
Chaos gripped the transport sector after a fare hike in May.
The government on Sunday raised the prices of petroleum products by Tk 5-8 per litre. The next day, price of CNG was hiked by Tk 5 per unit. Subsequently, the government increased bus fare by 5 paisa per km while CNG-run auto-rickshaw fare by 14 paisa per km.
Some bus operators demanded that the government reduce fuel and CNG prices, but prime minister's Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury ruled it out.
Enamul Huq, state minister for energy, also echoed Elahi's view after a programme at Hotel Sonargaon, saying that the prices of fuel were increased after considering every aspect.
“This is nothing but a torture by the government,” says Abul Hashem, a commuter at Mohakhali bus terminal.
"The fare from Dhaka to Tangail is Tk 100. But the bus conductors are asking Tk 120 today,” he told The Daily Star.
"Bus fare is rising continuously. Those who make policy decisions do not think about the sufferings of the people,” said another passenger Atiqur Rahman.
Private car driver Zahedul Islam paid Tk 120 to come to Sayedabad from Chandpur by Surma Paribahan yesterday. The fare was Tk 100 a day before.
“This is injustice to low-income people like us,” he said.
Zahedul spends Tk 3,500 of his monthly income of Tk 6500 for house rent. The fare hike will make his struggle to survive harder, he said.
Nazrul Islam, a businessman, termed the government decision to hike transport fare “whimsical”.
According to him, the bus owners take the chances of government decisions while the people suffer.
Meanwhile, the state-run BRTC special service buses increased fare by Tk 5 on all routes from yesterday.
The fare from Farmgate to Aricha was fixed at Tk 90 while from Farmgate to Islampur at Tk 40, said Sukumar Roy, an employee of BRTC at Farmgate counter.
"We've increased the fare by Tk 5 as per the government decision," he said.
But BRTC General Manager (operations) Maj Quazi Shafique Uddin said no such decision was taken.
Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity will decide on hiking the fare after getting a fare chart from BRTC.
CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers, however, started to charge extra.
“CNG drivers became desperate. They are asking fare at their will,” said Shahinur Rahman, who was bargaining with an auto-rickshaw driver at Khilgaon.