No end to commuters’ plight in sight

Buses are parked on the roadside during busy hours at Pallabi in Dhaka to evade the ongoing drive. The photos were taken on Monday. — Ali Hussain Mintu and Indrajit Ghosh

Increased fare as usual coupled with a shortage of transport caused the commuters to suffer on Monday as the drive to restore order to the chaotic city transport sector entered its second day.
Altercations between transport workers and passengers were the common scene on the road while a journalist was injured at Mirpur for protesting at charging of extra fare.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and the police on Sunday started the drive, especially not to allow any special services in the city which charged higher in the name of so-called ‘seating service’ and ‘gate locked’.
BRTA chairman Md Moshiur Rahman on Monday said they would cancel route permit of the buses which were off the street during the drive.
Thousands of passengers were seen at different city bus stops waiting for transport.
Female passengers alleged that after the drive reserved seats for them became more elusive than before.
The passengers alleged that in most cases the conductors charged beyond the government-fixed rate on different routes.
Private television channel Ekattor TV’s news producer Atik Rahman said he was attacked by a Jabale Nur Pvt Ltd bus conductor on the day for protesting at charging of extra fare.
The bus staff charged Tk 25 which they formerly would charge for what they called ‘seating service’ on Notun Bazar-Mirpur Ansar Camp route, he said.
‘When I asked him to show the government-fixed fare chart, he hit me in the the face,’ Atik said, who later filed a complaint with the Mirpur Model Police Station.
The company chairman, Md Zakir Hossain, claimed that according to the fare chart the fare was Tk 21 on the route while the journalist paid only Tk 10.
During inspecting a mobile court operating at Ramna, BRTA chairman Md Moshiur Rahman said they
were preparing lists of the transport owners who did not run their buses during the drive.
‘We will give them notice within this week. If the notice does not work, we will cancel their route permits,’ he warned.
Later he told New Age that they had served notice to the VIP Paribahan (27 no route) on Monday as no bus of the transport company ran in the two days.
BRTA decided to conduct mobile courts to implement some decisions made by the leaders of Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association on April 4 like not allowing any special service buses and removing additional seats, rooftop carriers and side angles from buses.
On Monday BRTA’s five executive magistrates conducted mobile courts at Agargaon, Asad Gate, Ramna, Jatrabari and Airport where five vigilance teams, formed by DRTOA, were also present to assist the drive.
They filed a total of 119 cases, fined the errant drivers Tk 3.60 lakh, jailed two drivers, dump one bus and seized documents of one bus for offences including violation of government-fixed fare charts and not having fare charts and driving licences.

Source: New Age

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