Leaders of the Bangladesh Passengers Welfare Association (BPWA) and eminent personalities have underscored the need for government sincerity and active intervention on the part of transport owners and workers to resolve ongoing passenger harassment and fare anarchy on the country's public transport which has reached almost unbearable proportions since lockdown restrictions were withdrawn.
Passenger rights are ignored and consequently anarchy prevails in the transport sector of Bangladesh. No development will be sustainable if public transport services do not improve, said economist and social thinker Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman on Monday at the National Press Club, at a programme organised by the BPWA to mark Passenger Rights Day.
He recommended ensuring reasonable fares, the professional behaviour of drivers, helpers and transport workers, safety of female passengers, obeying traffic lights, and designating specific places for passengers to get on and off buses.
Mentioning road accidents as a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Kazi Reazul Hoque, said there are a host of culprits responsible for the anarchy. The government must identify them and bring them to book.
He said all citizens are entitled to avail public transport services and they should be able to file a case against the state if this is not ensured by the government.
BPWA Advisory Council Member Sharifuzzaman Sharif said a bus can stop and a passenger can get on or off a bus anywhere in the capital, making for chaos on the roads, which is hardly found in any other country in the world. Good governance is absent in the transport sector and the government is not serious about the issue.
BPWA General Secretary Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury alleged, "Vested quarters are involved in extortion and ransom on the roads. The government provides them shelter which is why they do not have to face any consequences."
Passenger Rights Day is being observed for the third time in the country to realise demands against harassment of passengers on public transport. This time the theme of the day is "We want effective measures to stop passenger harassment and fare anarchy".