Friday, February 23, 2018 | ePaper

Ensure sustained benefits to city commuters

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IN spite of transport owners' pledge to stop illegal "sitting service" from yesterday - Dhaka commuters have yet been reportedly charged with extra fares for their respective trips to several destinations on Dhaka's Jatrabari to Mirpur routes. The move to end such self-devised scheme came amid media reports as numerable bus authorities were charging passengers high fares in the name of offering 'sitting service', 'gate-locked service' or 'special service'. Corresponding with the promise, the transport owners on April 4 announced that such dubious services would stop in the capital after April 15. It wouldn't have happened, only if strict monitoring was put in place to ensure whether exact fares were honestly collected from passengers. And it would have effectively stopped if all bus owners had united to implement the vow collectively.

Many of the passengers' apparent fear is that transport workers would continue charging extra fare in overcrowded buses if the authorities didn't keep a watch on bus operations had turned to be only true. If not all, but here we clearly mark a fraction of bus owners who are unwilling to cooperate from charging extra fares. However, the bus owners who are unwilling to cooperate in this case should be held accountable for their additional charging.

Moreover, they should clearly explain why they are continuing to do so. The menace of charging the extra buck has come a long way; which should have been addressed long ago. Now this malpractice has become so rampant that it cannot be easily stopped. Reportedly, some 150 transport companies are operating around 4,500 buses in the city. The need of the hour is to bring all of them under a regular scanner. Mobile teams started monitoring at important city inter-sections but its long-term success yet to be seen. Most importantly, the drive for deterring bus owners from charging extra should not be restricted within particular time or season - it should be consistent throughout the year.      

Our message is simple - if buses don't operate lawfully in the city, they should be penalised in the light of legal codes of conduct. That said - our bus companies must conduct their businesses while make legitimate profits. Furthermore, they should fix their fares of different routes in accordance with the fare charge clearly determined by the government. All of them must hang the government's fixed chart inside their respective buses. Currently, many buses with stickers reading "sitting service" glued to their windows still don't hang the fare chart, which has been made mandatory by BRTA. Rather, they display charts inconveniently made up by them for taking extra fares from passengers. This unfair practice must be stopped by enforcing strict rules.   


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