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20 April, 2017 01:48:28 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 April, 2017 12:05:18 PM
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Govt on back foot

Unjust bus fares add to commuters’ woes
Staff Reporter
Govt on back foot

Backtracking from its earlier decision of abolishing sitting service and special service buses in the capital, the government yesterday said those buses would ply the city roads for the next 15 days. 
However, the special services will have to charge fares at the government-fixed rates within this period, according to Moshiur Rahman , chairman of regulatory body Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). The decision came at a meeting of the BRTA with stakeholders. 
The decision was taken considering the hardship of the people, especially of women and elderly people, in the capital over the past few days, he added.
“Whether the special services would ply the city roads would be decided within the 15 days. A legal framework would be formulated, if necessary, to run these services,” said the BRTA chairman. 
Meanwhile, the immense suffering of commuters in Dhaka continued for the fifth day yesterday, as most buses have gone off the roads following a government drive against the so-called gate-locked or sitting bus services.
Senior citizens, women and children were the worst sufferers as hundreds of people waited for hours on end for the few local buses that were still plying on the roads.
With few other alternatives, passengers jostled to get into the jam-packed buses, even at the risk of their lives.
While the people suffered, the bus conductors did not miss the opportunity to fleece them by demanding exorbitant fares, often leading to heated altercations and even scuffles.
Many commuters complained that the buses were running without any accountability and not following the fare charts. However, they had no option but to give in to the unjust demands.
“We are being held hostage by a section of transport owners. Commuters in the city are suffering severely because of their caprice and greed,” said Abida Hossain, a school teacher.
On the other hand, several passengers said they were not averse to paying a little extra fare, but they did not like the discomfort while commuting to and from work.

“I have been waiting for a bus for over an hour. I am desperate to reach office in time, or else I will face pay cut,” said Jahangir Hossain, a Motijheel-bound passenger waiting at Shewrapara. 
“Now the local buses are asking for the same fare as charged by the previous ones with sitting services. What is the difference? We want peace,” he added.
Jahanara Begum, another commuter, said: “Earlier, we used to wait in the queue for the sitting buses. But now we have these local buses. Female passengers don’t get the chance to sit now. We are suffering, but have to pay the same fare.”
She added that the government and bus owners should immediately come up with plans to improve the situation.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) officials held a meeting with bus owners at the BTRA office in the capital to discuss ways to provide better services and reduce the sufferings of the commuters.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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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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