Bangladesh Road Transport Authority on Sunday agreed to increase fares of diesel-run buses by 27 percent amid a transport strike after the government raised the prices of the fuel oil by 23 percent.
Passengers alleged the diesel-run buses were charging extra fares while the CNG-powered buses were asking for the same rates as the diesel-run ones.
BRTA sat with the bus owners, workers, police and Dhaka district administration on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
“We’ve informed the owners’ association about the decision to put stickers on the CNG-run buses,” said BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder, adding that mobile court drives will be launched on Thursday to stop the operators from charging extra fares.
The leaders of the owners and workers’ associations will meet again on Wednesday to find ways to prevent extra fares, an official said.
CONFUSION OVER NUMBER OF CNG-RUN BUSES
The BRTA chairman said they do not have the correct data on the number of CNG-run buses. “We may be able to find it within a day or two.”
Bangladesh’s transport operators began importing CNG-run buses or converting the diesel engines to CNG ones on a large scale one and a half decades ago as gas prices were lower than those of fuel oil.
People in the transport sector said many of the owners reconverted the engines to be fuelled by diesel later as the maintenance cost of CNG-run buses was high.
Many companies that used CNG-run buses a few years ago have ceased operation, said Md Sumon, an official at Shahnaz Refuelling Station in Dhaka’s Gabtoli.
But Monir Hossain, an official at Bhuyian Filling Station in Narsingdi, said they refuel many CNG-run buses. “It’s not correct to say that there is only a few CNG-run buses. It can’t be possible to covert so many engines to diesel-run ones in one day.”
Md Mobin, a driver of a transport company that operates CNG-run buses on the Gabtoli-Jatrabari route, claimed they did not raise the fares.
The fuel cost for six trips on the route is Tk 1,500 on an average for CNG-run buses, but the cost is Tk 1,800 for diesel-run buses on the same route, according to him.
The maintenance cost of CNG-run buses, however, is much higher than that of diesel-run ones, he added.
Lokman Hossain, a helper of PPL Paribahan, said the company raised fares for both CNG-run buses and those fuelled by diesel.