A legal notice has been sent to the government seeking withdrawal of the gazette notification on the hike of bus fares amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Supreme Court lawyer M Nuruzzaman Lincoln sent the notice to Road Transport and Highways Division secretary and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chairman on Monday in the public interest.
It was mentioned in the notice that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown people’s lives into disarray and rendered low -and middle-income people without any work forcing them to lead dehumanised life.
However, a gazette was published after hiking the bus fare by 60 percent which has frustrated the already helpless people.
The legal notice called for taking steps within 48 hours to revoke the gazette notification warning that the legal action will be taken in the public interest if it goes unheeded.
The government reset the fare of long-haul buses and minibuses across the country, hiking it by 60 percent to offset losses for transport owners as their vehicles would carry 50 percent less passengers to contain the transmission of coronavirus.
The Road Transport and Bridges Ministry issued a gazette notification in this regard on Sunday.
As per the notification, the new fare rate came into force on Monday (June 1).
It said the new bus fares would be applicable during the coronavirus crisis period and the existing ones would be reinstated once the nation gets rid of the crisis.
The additional fare for inter-district and long routes buses and minibuses was increased by 60 percent from the current Tk 1.42 for a kilometre, the notification added.
The extra 60 percent fare was also added to the existing bus, minibus fare of Tk 7 and Tk 5 per km in Dhaka and Chattogram metropolitan cities respectively.
The notification also said that bus and minibus plying in Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Manikganj and Dhaka district under Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), would be allowed to charge extra fare with the existing fare of Tk 1.60 per kilometer.
Each passenger must take a seat and keep the adjacent seat empty and no bus and minibus is allowed to carry over 50 percent passengers.
Earlier on Saturday, a committee of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, led by its chairman, proposed 80 percent rise of bus fares in order to compensate the owners for carrying 50 percent less passengers as per the government’s instruction.
The bus services resumed in the country on Monday after over two months of suspension due to the coronavirus shutdown.