Bus operators fleece Eid travellers

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 15 Jun 2017, 00:44:15

Bus operators fleece Eid travellers

Many train ticket seekers return empty-handed
FE Report

Ignoring the government-fixed rate, private bus operators are charging much higher prices for advance tickets for travels during the upcoming Eid holidays, home-bound passengers claimed.

On the other hand, many train ticket seekers who thronged the Kamalapur Railway Station in the city on Wednesday to collect tickets for June 23 returned empty-handed.

During a visit to different bus ticket counters at Mazar Road, Kalyanpur and Shyamoli in the city, this FE correspondent found that Dhaka-Bogra ticket price has increased by Tk 60 and Dhaka-Panchagarh ticket price by Tk 120 while air-conditioned (AC) bus fares for these two routes have jumped by Tk 100 and Tk 450 respectively.

Bus operators started on June 12 selling advance tickets for June 20 to 25, as Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated on June 26 or 27, subject to the sighting of moon.

Shariful Hasan, a banker, said regular ticket price for travel to Panchagarh is Tk 700, but Nabil Paribahan charged him Tk 820 a ticket.

Fares for AC buses going to Panchagarh and Thakurgaon have increased to Tk 1450 a ticket, up by Tk 400 to Tk 450 compared to the regular price.   

According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA)-fixed rate, bus fare (non-AC) for Panchagarh is Tk 700.

Earlier, private bus operators assured the government that they would not hike fares during the Eid festival.

However, Manager of SR Travels' counter at Kalyanpur Md Nurunnabi told the FE that the price of Eid tickets remain the same as that of the last year.

He explained that most of the buses will have to return to Dhaka empty for which they are just charging Tk 50-Tk 60 higher a ticket.

Contacted, Bus-Truck Owners' Association Chairman Md Faruqe Talukder said members of the association have been told not to charge high prices for Eid tickets.

Passengers should make complaints to law enforcement agencies if they find any price irregularities, said Mr Talukder, also one of the owners of Sohag Paribahan, a private bus operator.

He urged the authorities concerned to take stern action to check bus fare hike.

Passengers' Welfare Association secretary general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury told the FE that none of the inter-district buses are complying with the official rates fixed by the BRTA.

Common passengers are being held hostage to the whims of bus operators during the festive occasion, he said.

He also said bus fare for Rangpur should not be more than Tk 480 a ticket, but the ticket is now selling at Tk 680 to 700.

He said the special vigilance team, which the government has formed recently, must take stern action against the wrongdoers.

Mr Chowdhury urged the government to raise capacity of railway which, according to him, the only way to minimise hassles of travellers.

On Wednesday, the Kamalapur Railway Station witnessed the biggest rush, as hundreds of tickets seekers came to buy tickets for June 23.

The Bangladesh Railway started selling advance tickets from June 12.

Ashiqur Rahman, a student of Tejgaon College in the city, managed to collect four tickets after waiting for 14 hours on the queue.

"I joined the queue after Iftar on Tuesday and finally got the tickets for Birampur, Dinajpur, at 10:00am today," he said.

However, Matiur Rahman, Fahim Reza and hundreds of other ticket seekers were not so lucky.

Talking to the FE, Mr Rahman said he was behind only 250 men at the counter-7 but failed to get any tickets for Chittagong-bound Suborno Express or Mahanagar Provati.

"Two hours after the sale began, counters declared that all tickets have been sold," he said.

Bangladesh Railway (BR) Director General Md Amzad Hossain said the Railway has been doing its best to provide tickets to the maximum number of people.

He said 22,000 tickets are available at the railway counters for a particular day, but more than 0.12 million passengers have come to buy tickets.   

He also said law enforcers have been deployed to avert any chaos and check sale of tickets on the black market, he said. Advance train tickets for June 24 and 25 will be given on June 15 and 16 respectively.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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