Media: The Independent
Transport operators are a divided lot in Chittagong over bus fare hike. Taking advantage of thechaos, many operators are charging passengers randomly. Commuters alleged that many transport operators are charging more than the fare fixed by the government on the pretext of the recent hikein prices of gas and fuel. Bus service operators are yet to put up a fare list, leading to frequentbrawls between the passengers and conductors. This time, the bus fares have been increased from Tk. 1.60 to Tk. 1.70 per kilometre, which is a hikeof about seven percent, while fares of mini busses have gone up from Tk. 1.50 to Tk. 1.60 perkilometre. Though, the minimum fare of Tk. 7 for busses and Tk. 5 for minibuses remains unchanged. One section of transport operators started charging the revised since yesterday, while the othersection is yet to announce its decision. “We have started charging the revised fares from Saturday morning.
We have put up the new fare list inside the buses. So there is no scope to charge more from the passengers,” said Abul KalamAzad, Secretary General of Chattagram Jela Sarak Paribahan Malik Group. Manjurul Alam Manju, representing the rival group, said that they are yet to take any decision about hiking the fares and will decide once they get the complete list of fare hike from the concernedministry. Many commuters told The Independent that the operators are not following the government’sguidelines and are charging randomly.
Haradan Das, a shop owner who often travels from Oxygen to New Market in mini bus, said he usedto pay Tk. 9 for the trip, but now he has to pay Tk. 12 for the journey. It should not be more thanTk. 10 as per the revised fare list, claimed, Haradan.
Even the CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers have unleashed complete anarchy. Most of the times theyrefuse to go by the meter and charge fares randomly. The traffic department has failed to curb thismenace. Harun-or-Rashid, a banker, alleged that auto-rickshaw drivers always charge Tk. 150-Tk. 200 for travelling from GEC Circle to Agrabad. “It should not be more than Tk. 70-80 according to the meter, but the drivers usually demand more on the pretext of traffic jams, rains and now due to the hike inthe price of gas,” said Rashid. “The authorities are yet to provide the revised fare list for human haulers, which we are operatingon 14 routes in the city. If the fares for busses have been revised, then the fares for other transportshould also be revised,” said Belayet Hossain Belal, Secretary General of Metropolitan Paribahan MalikGroup.