State-owned BRTC buses are now the only public transport option for office goers to travel on as private bus owners are on a strike since Friday in protest against the recent price hike of diesel and kerosene.
Taking advantage of the situation, BRTC buses were charging extra fares from passengers, commuters told The Business Standard on Saturday.
On Saturday, Alea Akter, a resident of Mirpur-12, came to Farmgate by a BRTC bus to go her workplace at capital's Green Road. The usual fare for the route was Tk20 but Alea was forced to pay Tk25 on the day.
"The conductor took Tk25 citing the hike in fuel price. I had no option but to pay the extra money as he was behaving rudely with passengers," said Alea.
Another passenger Tuhin, who travelled from Matsya Bhaban to Karwan Bazar, alleged that he was charged Tk5 extra by a BRTC bus staff.
Shafikul Islam, another commuter who travelled from Gulistan to Shahbag on a BRTC bus, said he too was asked to pay an extra Tk5.
"The bus staff demanded Tk15 fare but I gave Tk10," he said.
However, managers of BRTC bus depots in Dhaka denied the allegations of hiked fares.
"We are instructed to sack the staff as soon as we get information of charging extra fare against any," Nur-e-Alam, manager of Kalyanpur bus depot, told The Business Standard.
He further said that their monitoring team were patrolling different points in the capital to ensure action against staffs who charge extra fares.
Nur, however, admitted that separate incidents of overcharging might have been happened.
Mirpur Bus Depot Manager Md Mostafizur Rahman said, they stopped renting bus to others in order to ensure 100% transparency to their operational procedures.
"We are running the buses by own staff and all are instructed not to charge extra fare."
Meanwhile, BRTC buses charged extra fares in other districts as well.
Admitting the claims, Aminur Rahman, counter master of BRTC in Satkhira, said they raised the bus fare as the price of fuel has gone up.
Amjad Hossain, BRTC's spokesperson and general manager of accounts, and BRTC chairman could not be reached for comments.