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15 January, 2019 12:11:37 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 January, 2019 03:52:22 PM

No end to trip-to-trip basis contract in bus operation

Saugato Bosu and Md Habibulla, Dhaka
No end to trip-to-trip basis contract in bus operation

Five months into the decision to recruit drivers and transport workers on the basis of a proper job contract with the provision for monthly salaries, Transport Owners' Association is yet to implement the decision. During the student-led protest for safer roads last August, the association decided to stop giving buses to drivers on contract basis in a bid to bring discipline in bus operation and bring down road fatalities. The association took the decision in the wake of agitation to protest the death of two college students who were crushed under the wheels of a bus in the capital in August last year.

Most of the buses in the capital, however, are still being run on a contractual basis. The owners still hire drivers on a trip-to-trip basis and pay them as per a completed trip. This system prompts a driver to undertake more trips, a practice which has made the roads and highways a dangerous place and prone to frequent accidents.

On Friday, The Independent, speaking, with drivers and assistants of at least 10 buses of Gabtoli Poribahan of the Motijheel to Gabtoli route,  Balaka and Manjil Poribahan of the Sadarghat to Gazipur route, Savar Poribahan of the Dhamrai to New market route and Thikana Poribahan of the Baipail to Gulisthan route.

Transport workers said only drivers and assistants operating "seating service" buses in the capital are employed under a salaried system.

Drivers and workers of local services are still tied to a daily rate.

Under the contract system, the transport workers (drivers or conductors) pay the owners a fixed amount at the end of the day or trip.

They said they work on a trip system fixed by the owners' association and do not have fixed wages. They make as much money as they possibly can by making several trips.

Shukkur Mia, helper of Balaka Transport, said they are on a daily contract.

"The amount of money depends on the number of trips we get to make in a day," said Shukkur Mia.

Ilias Kanchan, chairman of Nirapad Sharak Chai, said the transport owners are not abiding by the rules they had framed.

Talking to The Independent, Illias Kanchan said the problem would not be solved unless the existing bus service system is changed. Besides, the two sides -- vehicle owners and drivers -- do not trust each other.

“If the buses are run on a contractual basis, the vehicle owners think that after they get the daily amount, the remaining money goes into the pocket of drivers and their assistants. Because of this, the transport workers try to carry as many passengers as possible, leading to a mad race among the drivers on roads,” Kanchan added.

On the other hand, if the salary of the drivers is fixed, they would not get adequate money. As a result, the drivers do not want the monthly salary system, he said. Kanchan suggested that the concerned authorities should introduce another system for the city bus services.

“If all buses are run in a company under government authorisation, then the problem will be solved,” said Kanchan.

The drivers and the helpers of buses, however, beg to differ. According to them, if they get monthly salary instead of on and off money under contract, then reckless driving would be drastically reduced.

“The drivers don’t always drive the buses of same owners. But if the owners can’t fix a monthly salary, they should at least fix a daily wage. Then the drivers have at least the guarantee of taking home the wage on a daily basis” said a staff of Thikana Poribahan

However, many drivers and helpers are not happy with their salary scheduling. Helpers of Welcome Poribahan on the Motijheel route from Baipayl routhe said they are under a wage system.

“We have been brought under wages, but it is less than what is given in a contract system,” said Zia a helper of Welcome Bus.

They can earn more under the contract system.

When the correspondent tried to contact Khandker Enayet Ullah, his phone was found switched off.   

On August 8 last year, Khandker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association told a press briefing: “From tomorrow (August 9), no bus will be plying the streets on a contract system. We would recommend cancellation of registration if any bus owner operates his buses on contract.” After the announcement, the association formed a vigilance team and cancelled the registrations of various buses.

A month-long traffic awareness programme was conducted at the behest of the DMP Commissioner, Asaduzzaman Mia, from August 5 last year. Four departments of the Traffic Division checked vehicles without fitness certificates and licences at 40 points in the capital.





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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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