Bus owners on Monday proposed a 60 per cent increase in bus fare.
The proposal came hours after the publication of a gazette notification signed by the prime minister’s principal secretary asking public transports operators to carry 50 per cent of its passenger capacity due to a surge in coronavirus infection cases.
The proposal was given at an urgent meeting at the BRTA headquarters at evening.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said that the the road transport and bridges ministry would decide about the proposal.
The rate would come into effect countrywide immediately only after the ministry’s approval, he said.
The gazette notification gave a set of 18 directives amid the increasing trend of COVID-19 infections across Bangladesh, imposing restrictions on all types of political, social, religious and public gatherings and banned public gathering in highly COVID-19 infected areas.
It also said that public transports will have to ply with 50 per cent of its passenger capacity following health rules.
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association secretary general Khandaker Enayet Ullah told New Age that it was not possible for them to run buses with half of capacities without a fare hike or subsidy from the government.
‘We placed our proposal now the authorities will consider these,’ he added.
BRTA chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said that they had called the emergency meeting of the fare fixation committee under the authority following the gazette notification.
‘We approved the proposal of 60 per cent increase in bus fare and tomorrow we will send it to the road transport and bridges ministry for final decision,’ he said.
After that they would issue a gazette and the directives would be imposed immediately.
BRTA director for engineering, Sitangshu S Biswas, said that they would send an email with the proposal to the ministry at night.
On March 26, 2020 the government imposed a ban on the movement of all public transports to ensure social distancing following the COVID-19 outbreak.
On June 1 that year the authorities allowed buses and minibuses across the country to run at their 50 per cent capacity with a 60 per cent increase in bus fare.
The authorities also made it mandatory for all transport workers to wear masks and spray sanitiser inside and outside of the buses before and after every trip.
On September 1, the government allowed the bus operators to go back to normal services by withdrawing restrictions on the number of passengers.
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