D S Sourav
Fares on public transports have been raised by all transports in the city to match the price hike of gas that came into effect on Monday. The extra fare on public transports that came into effect from Tuesday, comes following informal announcement on the decision to raise the fares. As on Sunday, the average price of gas was raised, through a government notification, by 32.8 percent for the retail consumers in the country with effect from Monday.
The transport owners, in the meantime, have already started charging extra fare from the passengers to maintain paying for the extra amount paid for filling the fuel tanks or gas cylinders. Apart from the price hike of gas, the transport owners are giving excuses for increased costs of tires, tubes, lubricants and spare parts, for the increasing the fares.
However, the government has not taken any decision over raising transport fares after the price hike of gas. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader while talking to the media said that the issue of increased gas price is difficult to accept. Referring to incurring the loss of about Tk 3000 crore on subsidy on gas annually, the Minister justified that the decision to raise the price of gas has been taken to adjust and make up to the losses.
According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the cost of per unit of gas was Tk 7.80 (LNG) while the selling price was Tk 7.17 which causes a loss of approximately Tk 3,000 crore each year. The transport owners also said that realizing extra fare on renting trucks, bus, minibus, and auto-rickshaws has not yet been decided.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association ordered owners of public transport companies not to charge any extra fare from passengers until the government assessed fares. Bangladesh Passengers' Welfare Association, Secretary General Mozammel Haque Chowdhury told Bangladesh Post that, resentment centering realizing of excessive bus fares has already started due to lack of monitoring. Meanwhile, passengers are complaining about the increased fares.
Jamal Rahman, who travels from Mirpur to Shahbagh every day, said "Most of the bus staff on this route are often charging Tk 12 instead of existing Tk 8-10,"
Most passengers traveling on city routes including, Sayedabad, Kuril Bishwaroad, Mugda, Rampura, Badda, Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Sheowrapara, Motijheel, Kamalapur, and Jatrabari, complained of the excessive fares.