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A city bus in Dhaka

Buses with unauthorized services still creating artificial crisis on roads

WT24 Desk

The ‘Sitting Service’ and ‘Gate Lock’ buses continue to overcharge passengers triggering fights betweens passengers and staff for a second consecutive day on Monday. It also caused a spike in passengers’ suffering by creating an artificial crisis of buses, Agencies report.

The so-called ‘Sitting Service’ and ‘Gate Lock’ buses started to take additional passengers from Sunday following a decision of Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity but they charged extra fares triggering fights with passengers in many cases.

Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity, an association of owners of buses in the capital, at its general meeting on April 4 last decided that no bus would be allowed to operate in Dhaka city in the name of ‘Sitting Service’ or ‘Gate Lock’ from April 15 as additional fares are charged from passengers in the guise of such services.

However, the implementation of the decision was delayed by a day.

To enforce the decision, the five mobile courts, led by executive magistrates of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), along with leaders of the transport association carried out drives at five city points on Monday like the previous day on Sunday, Director (Enforcement) of BRTA Nazmul Ahsan Majumdar told UNB.

They conducted the mobile courts at Agargaon, Asad Gate, Jatrabari, Matsya Bhaban and Airport crossing from the morning.

During the drives, 119 cases were filed while Tk 3.60 lakh was realised in fines, two drivers were jailed for different terms, a bus was seized and another sent to the dumping yard on various charges, including extra fares and not keeping fare chart, he said.

“We’ve managed to stop the ‘Sitting Service’ and ‘Gate Lock’ buses nearly 100 per cent. Now we are working to enforce the fares fixed by the BRTA,” said Majumdar.

Visiting different parts of the city, UNB correspondent observed that many people were kept waiting at bus stops for regular buses, as they are not availing the service from buses charging extra or unable to get on ones that have locked their gates  after filling seats, and contributing to the artificial crisis created by the transport owners.

General Secretary of Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity Khandker Enayetullah told UNB that “we are trying to restore the discipline of transports. Today almost all buses plied on roads holding all stoppages of the city. Many passengers standing at the bus stops were being denied boarding on the bus. But now all can do it,” he said.

He hoped that the problems will be resolved soon as they continued to remain vigilant.

Sadia Shanta, who was waiting for a bus at Bangla Motor, told UNB that she could not board a bus in the evening despite trying nearly one hour as there is a bus crisis on the road. “Whenever a bus comes to the stop, men are able to board by fighting but I could not reach it,” she said.

Sumi Akhter, who came to Mouchak from Farmagate, said she did not get any benefit from lifting the sitting service as the bus worker has taken the extra fare from her providing sitting service.

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