The recommendation of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to increase the bus fares by 80% has sparked netizens to outcry for policy support and subsidy on fuel for the transport sector to keep the fare within reasonable range.
Earlier in the day, BRTA recommended increasing the fares of all buses by 80% as the vehicles are allowed to carry half passengers of the total seats to maintain social distancing amid Covid-19 outbreak.
People lost source of income as they were out of work for last two months due to the shutdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. But now they will have to pay more to use public transports.
In a Facebook post, Istiak Haider Choudhury said, "Bus seats will never remain vacant if those ply on the streets. And many people can merely afford the increased fare as they earned very little during the lockdown in last two months. The hiked fare will increase altercations among bus workers and passengers only."
"It is impossible to fight the menace of money hungry transport 'masters' with logical reasoning... you have to get in the mud to fight with them," said Ibrahim M N Karim in a Facebook comment.
Another Facebook user - Nirob Pir Jasim Uddin - wrote, "I don't want to be victim of the oppression. Rather I will walk to the mid-range distances and will purchase a bicycle for reaching long distances."
Journalist Fardaus Mobarok said in a Facebook post, "Don't increase the fare, PLEASE. Better, give them policy support, subsidy on fuel."
In a post on Facebook, Amin Al Rasheed said, "BRTA has recommended increasing bus fares by 80%. Now the question is - how many buses or passengers will follow the rules of social distancing. Everyone will want to reach office and return home first. Many will get board on the buses forcibly if the bus workers prevent them. Besides, so far we know the transport workers and owners, they will not reduce the fares when the situation improves. So there will be a chaos in the public transport sector in the name of coronavirus impact. BRTA will have no control over the situation. Now what's the solution? No solution; we have to live in this country yielding to such reality or we have to fly abroad on a chartered or personal aircraft."
"The fuel price is low now in the global market. But the prices of electricity, diesel or patrol will not come down; rather a quarter is planning to double the bus fare on the ground of health security against Covid-19," Showmen Chowdhury wrote on Facebook.
Advocate Mohi Shamim posted on Facebook, saying, "Bus fares are being increased on the pretext of social distancing. These blank seats will be filled up soon, but the passengers will have to pay the increased fares for long. This is science!"
"We are getting discounted salaries for last three months, now a new drama is here," lamented Khurshid Sumon in a social media post.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity President Mozammel Haque Chowdhury demanded withdrawal of the decision to increase the fares of public transports showing ground of social distancing during the pandemic.