The railways ministry is planning to decrease Bangladesh Railway’s expenditure and increase earning without hiking train fares, officials have said.
Till now, the ministry has not taken any initiative to increase train fare this year, they have assured, explaining that if railway’s expenditure is decreased and earning increased, there will be no need to hike train fare.
Earlier, in February last year, the ministry increased train fares – of both passenger and container trains – by 7.23 per cent on an average.
At that time, the ministry also proposed to increase train fare every year by adjusting to fuel price, maintenance cost and staff salaries.
On Tuesday, railways ministry secretary Md Feroz Salauddin told New Age that according to the Asian Development Bank’s condition they had increased train fare last year.
As per the ADB condition, the BR must hike train fare in keeping with the increasing maintenance cost, he said.
‘Every year our maintenance cost is increasing,’ he worried, saying that hike in salaries was another major reason behind increased operating expenses.
So, he said, the railway was currently trying to identify areas where to reduce its expenses and increase its earnings.
They already formed Container Company of Bangladesh Limited to boost BR’s capacity to carry containers and increase earning from the service, he said.
The railway was also carrying government’s fertilizer companies, he added.
‘If we can reduce our expenses and increase earnings, we don’t have to hike train fare,’ he hoped.
A senior BR operation department officer, however, hinted they had to increase train fare to cope with inflation.
In 2016, they had increased train fare from minimum Tk 5 to maximum Tk 45, said officials.
Rights activists had then protested at the move saying that in 2012 the railway had promised to improve its service quality but failed to keep its promise.
After 20 years, on October 1, 2012, the BR had increased train fares ranging between 50 per cent and 115 per cent.
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