Fares unchanged as half-capacity bus trips begin Saturday

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Dhaka, Jan 12: Transport owners are not raising fares now as buses will start carrying passengers at half capacity on Saturday following a government order amid surging coronavirus cases.

The decisions were taken at a meeting between the owners and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority on Wednesday.

On Monday the government announced the new restrictions, which will take effect on Thursday, in a bid to control the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant. It ordered buses and trains to operate at half capacity and ensure physical distancing and other health rules.

Authorities mandated carrying coronavirus vaccine certificates for all drivers and assistants of trains, buses and launches. People will also need to show vaccine certificates to dine in restaurants or stay in hotels.

After the announcement, transport owners said they wanted to raise fares once again to offset their losses.The latest development mirrors government steps last year when the fares of public transports were raised by 60 percent to operate at half capacity.

However, this time around, their demand comes on top of a 27 percent fare hike for buses and 35 percent for launches, which was approved in November last year due to a rise in fuel prices.

Enayet Ullah, secretary general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association, had said, “We won’t even make enough money to pay for the fuel if we run at half capacity. We raised fares by 60 percent after the decision last time.”