Owners demand 60% fare hike to operate bus at half capacity in Ctg

Bus owners in Chattogram on Thursday demanded a 60 per cent hike in fare to run buses at their half capacities as per the government’s instruction to fight off Covid.

“If we have to operate buses keeping 50 per cent seats empty, we want the fare raised by 60 per cent like the previous time,” said Belayet Hossain, General Secretary of Chattogram Metropolitan Bus Owner’s Group.

Though the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) said the directive will be effective from Saturday but bus owners in Chattogram will take decision in this regard after a meeting on it that day, he said.

Monjurul Alam Monju, General Secretary of Chattogram Road Transport Owner’s Group said, “Although the owners incurred losses they carried 50 per cent with 60 per cent increased fare during the lockdown following the government’s instruction.”

If the government wants the bus owners to follow the health guidelines fare need to be raised, otherwise, it will become impossible to operate buses, he said.

On Wednesday, BRTA said buses will operate at half of their capacities from Saturday and at the previous fare.

The decision was taken at a meeting with the leaders of transport owners and workers.

Meanwhile, the leaders of transport owners and workers demanded the government allow them operate buses at their full capacities maintaining proper health protocols as flights are allowed to operate at 100 per cent of their capacities.

The buses will not carry passengers beyond the number of seats in a bus, they said.

The BRTA director said a recommendation will be submitted to the cabinet on Thursday in this regard.

On Monday, the government imposed restrictions on public movement and other activities like operating public transport at their half capacities amid the growing concern over the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus.

On November 3, the government raised the prices of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 per litre, prompting the transporters to enforce an indefinite strike in the country on November 7 demanding a hike in bus fares.

Amid the worsening public woes caused by the transport strike, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) raised the bus fares of intra-city and inter-district buses by 26.5% and 27%, respectively.

Source: United News of Bangladesh