The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority has proposed increasing fare by Tk0.5/km to Tk2.20 in the piloting of bus route franchise on the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur route in the capital, said Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Fazle Nur Taposh on Tuesday.
The current bus fare within the city is Tk1.70 per kilometre.
The proposed fare will be finalised if approved by the Ministry of Road Transport, and two companies will operate buses on the 30.5km route, Taposh told reporters after the 16th meeting of the Bus Route Rationalisation committee at Nagar Bhavan.
Better services to commuters will justify the fare hike, he said.
Khandaker Enayet Ullah, member of the committee and secretary general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, said bus fares in Dhaka city had not been increased in the last seven years. All the associated costs have gone up and so fares should be raised even without the bus route rationalisation.
The hiked fare will be implemented across the city in lockstep with the routes' rationalisation in phases, he said.
Since the buses will be upgraded and seating arrangements will be changed, journeys will become comfortable, said Enayet Ullah, adding that bus owners had agreed on proposals put forward by the committee so far.
However, the piloting is unlikely to begin on April 1, as said earlier because it will take time to upgrade the buses that ply the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur route.
The route will cover Bosila, Mohammadpur, Elephant Road, Shahbagh, Paltan crossing and Motijheel areas.
"We hope that we will be able to finish piloting this year, if work continues at the present pace," Taposh said.
The 10-member Bus Route Rationalisation committee was formed to bring order to the public transportation system in the capital and reduce traffic congestion.
The bus franchising plan, a brainchild of late mayor Annisul Huq, was taken up in 2015.
The government has finalised 22 companies, under which all city buses owned by 2,500 people will run on 42 routes across Dhaka.
The bus owners will enter into joint venture agreements.
On the piloting of the bus route franchise, Taposh said a draft joint venture agreement would be prepared in the next seven days.
The draft will be modified in consultation with bus owners and then it will be placed in the next meeting. The plan on future courses of actions will be made accordingly.
At present, 155 buses of two companies shuttle between Ghatarchar and Kanchpur. They will be brought under one company through a joint venture agreement, the mayor said.
Enayet Ullah of the Road Transport Owners Association said though old vehicles would run on the pilot route after repairs, new vehicles would be launched gradually for all the routes.
Prof Dr Shamsul Hoque, a public transport expert from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, earlier said, "The franchise system will eliminate the unusual competition in the public transport system as all the bus companies will come under one umbrella."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank has been requested to allocate Tk100 crore for easy loans to bus owners for the piloting of bus route franchise.
The money will be used to disburse loans at a 4% interest rate for repairs. Bus owners will get Tk3 lakh for each vehicle.
"All these considered, it seems the piloting will not begin in April," Enayet Ullah said.