Lack of buses, additional fares cause immense suffering to passengers
Commuters wait for transport at Farmgate in Dhaka on Saturday as fewer buses roll on the capital‘s roads after the government announced a sharp rise in fuel oil prices. —Sony Ramany
The sudden rise in fuel prices caused immense suffering for commuters on Saturday as most intercity buses stayed off the roads and many hiked fares in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
The recent fuel price hike took effect last Friday at midnight.
Most inter-district buses have also hiked fares for long passengers, forcing thousands to count extra cash, while a strike has also been enforced by transport owners in the port town of Chattogram .
A private company employee, Debashish Das, was found waiting for a bus with his wife at around 11:20 a.m. in the Azimpur district.
“I came by VIP bus service from Uttara to Azimpur bus station paying Tk 40 in the morning, and now they are charging Tk 50 for my return trip,” he added.
He was seen arguing with a bus driver over why the latter demanded an extra charge within hours.
He however got on the bus after waiting about 10 minutes as a few buses were circulating on the roads.
The VIP bus driver told New Age that they were charging Tk 5-10 more as the government increased the price of diesel by Tk 34 per litre.
“We don’t have any options because my owners asked me to,” he added.
Sanjida Rahman, another Mirpur Link bus passenger, said she had to pay Tk 40 instead of Tk 30 for her trip to Nilkhet from Mirpur-11.
A good number of buses in Azimpur, Mohammadpur Bus Stand and in front of Japan Garden City were seen parked on the roads.
Many people were seen waiting at several places for public transport in the capital including Azimpur Bus Stand, Nilkhet, Science Laboratory, Kalabagan, Dhanmondi 27, Asad Gate, Shyamoli, Kalyanpur, Mirpur 13, Mirpur 10 , Farmgate and other locations in the capital. .
A few buses were found carrying additional passengers as people could not find any other vehicles.
Most inter-district buses increased their fares before the government announced the new fuel price.
SP Golden Line, a bus that operates between Dhaka and Satkhira, was found charging Tk 700 on Saturday afternoon, while its previous fare was Tk 550 the day before.
Confirming the deal, SP Golden Line counter master in Kalyanpu Ruhul Amin said, “We are charging extra fees as per homeowners association guidelines. The government had increased the price and we have no choice but to increase the price.
In Kalyanpur, AK Travel counter master Biswajit Das echoed Ruhul while SI Travel’s Faruk said he increased by Tk 100 per ticket.
“We charge 700 Tk to travel to Joypurhat from Dhaka which used to cost 600 Tk,” he added.
Nabil Paribahan also increased the price of the non-AC ticket by 70 Tk and the AC ticket by 200 Tk.
On the other hand, Hanif Paribahan staff said that they did not raise the price despite the fuel price hike.
On Friday evening, the government revised fuel oil prices, raising the prices of petrol, diesel, octane and kerosene by almost 50%.
Diesel and kerosene prices were raised to Tk 114 per liter from Tk 80. The price of gasoline was raised to Tk 130 per liter from Tk 86 and the octane price to Tk 135 per liter from Tk 89.
The New Age Staff Correspondent in Chattogram reported that Chattogram residents suffered on Saturday as transport workers pulled off the roads to protest rising fuel prices.
Office-bound people, especially garment workers, were the hardest hit as they suddenly ran into trouble on Saturday morning.
Around 100 people were seen waiting for transport at Bahaddarhat circle under the port city around 8:00 a.m. the same day.
Garment worker Sharmin Akter and her other colleagues were seen waiting for a bus in the Bahaddarhat area around 8.10am to go to the EPZ area.
“We are waiting here from 6:30 a.m. for a bus but no bus was found until 8:10 a.m.,” Sharmin Akter told New Age, adding that they were supposed to enter the office at 8:00 a.m.
However, the Chattogram Metropolitan Transport Owners’ Group announced on Saturday morning that it would not be driving diesel vehicles due to rising fuel prices.
Later after 2:00 p.m., they reversed their decision, according to Belayet Hossain, the group’s general secretary.
Chattogram Inter-district Bus Owners’ Association chairman Kafil Uddin said they only used 50% of their vehicles on Saturday due to rising fuel prices.
“Most vehicles were unable to get fuel as many gas pumps were closed on Saturday,” he said.
Transport leaders said they were awaiting the government’s decision on the matter.
However, some transport workers reportedly prevented vehicles from traveling on roads in the Agrabad area, Kaptai Road and Oxygen Circle on Saturday.
The President of the Road Transport Workers’ Federation, Mohammad Musa, denied the allegations.
The New Age staff correspondent in Sylhet reported that an unpredictable situation had been unfolding in the transport sector since Saturday morning, as most of the district’s buses were off-road.
Long bus passengers said maximum number of buses were seen parked in Kadamtoli central bus station under Dakshin Surma in the city since early morning.
A petty trader Barun Roy said he came from Shrimangal to Sylhet by bus after paying a fare of Tk 200 which was Tk 130 until Friday.
Sylhet District Workers’ Union President Sarak Paribahan Moynul Islam said, “No transport owner or worker can survive if fuel oil is bought at such a high price.
Deputy Chairman of Sylhet District Bus Owners Association Abul Kalam said many long buses did not leave the terminal for their destinations, fearing they would be lost due to the sudden surge in fuel oil. .
The New Age staff correspondent in Rajshahi reported that commuters faced a transport crisis on Saturday as a few buses were seen driving through Rajshahi following the sudden rise in the price of all kinds of fuel oil.
Many passengers alleged that some buses charged them high fares.
While visiting several areas of the city including Shiroil Bus Station, Bhadra Intersection Bus Counter and Railgate Bus Counter, crowds of passengers were seen waiting for buses which were few in number. and spaced out.
Commuter Rabiul Islam said he used to go to Natore from Rajshahi paying Tk60 as fare which increased by Tk100 on Saturday.
Motiul Haque Tito, secretary general of the Rajshahi Bus Owners Association, said most transport owners do not run their vehicles on the roads for fear of loss.
New Age correspondent in Rangpur reported that people from all walks of life and motorcyclists staged a protest barricading the city’s Shapla intersection on Friday night since petrol stations stopped selling fuel oil following a the government’s announcement regarding the price increase.
The police, however, brought the situation under control and later cleared the road.
Agomoni Paribhan Manager, Noresh Chandra said, “We have fixed the new ticket price from Rangpur to Dhaka due to rising fuel prices. We charge 1,500 Tk for the AC bus ticket, which used to be 1,300 Tk.
With the government raising fuel prices on Saturday, one of the largest increases yet, the cost of transport sector fuel consumption for roads and waterways is expected to rise by 13.16% to 19.18%, according to the United News of Bangladesh.
That’s according to an analysis by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, UNB added.