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Fuel price hike

City buses overcharge passengers defying govt order

08 August 2022


Staff Reporter :
Several buses in Dhaka are reportedly overcharging passengers on Sunday, defying government orders.
The bus fare per kilometre (km) in Dhaka was increased by 35 paisa to Tk2.50 per km, but passengers claimed they were charged more than double.
This led to several disputes between passengers and bus authorities throughout the city.
On the other hand, a passenger welfare body Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity (BJKS) has rejected the recent hike in bus fares due to the increased price of fuel and demanded that the new bus fare should be set after "proper cost analysis".
During a meeting on Monday between Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and bus owners in view of the increase in fuel prices, BJKS said the increased bus fare was a "monopoly".
Secretary General of the BJKS Mozammel Haque Chowdhury made this claim in a statement sent to the media on Sunday morning.
Alleging that BRTA and Transport Owners Association have increased fares without passenger representatives in violation of the International Consumer Law, the statement said, the increased bus fares should be withdrawn and the bus fares should be determined afresh after proper cost analysis.  Mozammel said that the movement is on to demand the withdrawal of the monopoly increase in oil prices.
He added: "In the meantime, the bus owners are busy in increasing the bus fare in cooperation with the government without demanding the withdrawal of fuel prices. The bus fare was increased by 35% when the price of fuel increased by Tk15 per litre last November.
"Within nine months, with the increase in the price of fuel again, the bus fare has been increased by 22% in one jump without proper cost analysis."
The BJKS official said the hike in bus fares severely damaged passengers' interest.
He complained that the government fixed the fare as per the demand of the bus owners, but the fare fixed by the government is not effective on any bus.
"Even if bus fares are collected several times higher than the government fixed fare, the government can not practically take any action against these buses," he said.
Mozammel Haque further said: "In city service, the government has fixed the fare per kilometre, but the bus fare is charged on the basis of the passenger's head on the waybill. Even if you travel a short distance in the so-called sitting service of Dhaka city, you have to pay the fare up to the final destination."
Meanwhile, office-goers had to deal with a lot of challenges as only a small number of buses were plying the streets of the capital on Sunday morning.
Media worker Shafiqul Islam said that bus authorities are taking advantage of the passengers as most of them are unaware of their destination's distance.
A passenger of Akash Paribahan, Arju Mia, said: "As per the government's directives, the additional fare from Uttara to Malibagh would have been only Tk4.80. But the bus conductor demanded Tk30 extra from me."
Many buses are charging more than Tk5 even for short distances, said another passenger Anik Ahmed.
"They did not provide the new fare charts as well," he added.
Meanwhile, a mobile court of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) conducted an operation in the capital's Ramna area, and fined several buses for overcharging passengers.
BRTA Executive Magistrate Feroza Parveen fined the public transport for various other charges.
The government has increased fares of inter-district and long route buses by 22% and 16.27% in Dhaka, effective from Sunday.
Additional fare for inter-district and long routes buses and minibuses will be increased by 40 paisa to Tk2.20 per km from the existing Tk1.80 per km.
The bus fare per km in Dhaka has increased by 35 paisa to Tk2.50 per km from the existing Tk2.15 per km.
However, bus fare outside Dhaka were fixed at Tk2.4 increasing by 17%.
On Friday, the government also announced that it had raised all fuel oil prices, which came into effect on Saturday.
The price of diesel and kerosene per litre at the consumer level is Tk114, octane Tk135, and petrol Tk130.

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