The meeting, led by BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder began at the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority offices in Dhaka’s Banani at 11:30 am on Sunday.
The government increased the prices of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 to Tk 80 per litre on Wednesday, citing a volatile global oil market. Transport owners and workers called an indefinite nationwide strike in response, demanding either a rise in fares or a reversal of the 23 percent hike.
The strike has entered its third day, with service suspended for intra-city buses, long-haul buses and freight vehicles. Launches also stopped operating on Saturday. The situation has caused great difficulties for ordinary people.
In 2015, the government set the price per kilometre travelled at Tk 1.70 for city buses and Tk 1.60 for minibuses. They also set the minimum price for a bus journey at Tk 7 for city buses and Tk 5 for minibuses.
In 2016, the price for long-haul diesel-fuelled buses and minibuses was set at Tk 1.42 per kilometre.
According to the set of proposals sent to the BRTA chairman by the Transport Owners Association, the price of city buses in the Dhaka and Chattogram metropolitan areas and for long-haul bus routes has not increased in the past eight years.
But, in that intervening time, the cost of vehicle chassis, tires, tubes, spare parts, and all sorts of taxes and fees have increased. They claim that, for these reasons, the cost of running vehicles has increased ‘significantly’.
Asked how high the new proposed fares would be, Rakesh Ghosh, assistant general secretary of the Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners Association - another major transport owners group - told bdnews24.com that they had submitted a proposal to increase the price per kilometre to Tk 2.07 in 2019.
“The price of equipment, tolls, everything has increased since then. We have submitted a proposal. The BRTA will set the exact amount the fare will be increased by. They have a committee that sets these rates and they will discuss the matter with the owners.”