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Restore discipline in city transport system

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19th-Apr-2017       
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CITY traffic is facing serious chaos over the past two days since the government has stopped 'Gate locked' and 'Non-stop sitting service' offer by a section of buses charging  extra fares from passengers while running like any other buses. It appears that bus owners are now retaliating by holding most buses off the city streets causing overcrowding in limited number of buses and forcing commuters to wait longer for a ride to their destinations. The government's threats that transport owners will be punished if they hold back vehicles from the streets is not working. On the other hand those plying buses in the city are realizing higher fares as media reports said exploiting the unusual situation. 

The Communication Minister has characterized the situation saying that bus owners are very powerful people conceding to the fact that they are defying the government orders. But it is known to all that most bus owners are ruling party men and also holding various party positions and if the government fails to secure compliance of its order from them, the entire exercise may turn out to be a eyewash. The suffering of commuters will also end no more. We must say that the government must have control over the city transport system and on its own people to bring discipline in city roads to stop unbridled exploitation of passengers. It can't claim to have achieved any success if it surrenders to high corruption in city streets by its own people.  
  
The situation leading to recent decision to stop special services by a section of buses in city streets was totally chaotic showing a break down of city transport system. Such buses were stopping at every traffic point and taking commuters like others and realizing extra fares often running overcrowded buses. They were often charging as high as 20 percent above the government fixed fare in major city routes. 

With growing commuters protest and objections from owners of ordinary bus services the government recently intervened and bus owners agreed or we must say were forced to agree to stop exploitation in the name of Special Service from April 15. Owners of old buses also agreed to stop plying them in city streets and run buses with standard fitness documents.

But as Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) started monitoring implementation of such decisions and mobile courts were fielded to check papers, bus owners have started non-cooperation holding back buses off the streets. They did almost the same only two months ago without formally calling for a strike to protest sentencing of two bus drivers by courts on charge of murders of passengers in road accidents.

It is sad, people have been held hostage by transport owners and workers very frequently and in our view their mindless act must stop to show respect to rule of law and the government must also act to protect public interest. Such chaos can't go unchecked.     


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