Hike service

Rising fuel prices disrupt long-haul bus service and irritate passengers

| Updated:
Aug 06, 2022 7:44:25 p.m.

The highest ever fuel price hike in Bangladesh’s history has left passengers and coach operators equally frustrated as the first group are forced to pay higher fares, while transport owners in Mymensingh have halted service until a new rate structure is announced.

Diesel and kerosene prices rose by 42.5% to Tk 114 per litre, petrol prices were set at Tk 130 per litre, a jump of 51.16%, while oil prices octane rose 51.68% to 135 Tk on Friday.

Last November, the government increased the price of diesel and kerosene from Tk 15 to Tk 80 per litre. Subsequently, coach fares increased by almost 27%, far more than the corresponding rise in fuel prices.

Transport executives and owners have confirmed that most buses from Mymensingh to other parts of the country have suspended their services as they claim it is categorically impossible for them to operate under the current fare structure.

Mahbubur Rahman, General Secretary of the Mymensingh District Transport Owners Association, said: “Most operators have stopped the services as they no longer believe that the services they provide will bring profit unless the structure current tariff is adjusted according to current fuel prices. ”

“A few are still working, but most have stopped,” he said.

Ena Paribahan, one of the largest coach operators in Bangladesh, is a service that is still running and following the current fare structure, reports bdnews24.com.

Ratan Kumar Pandit, director of Ena services at Maskanda bus station in Mymensingh, threatened to go on strike if the government did not adjust coach fares.

“We are still charging Tk 260 for passengers traveling from Mymensingh to Dhaka although the fare is much lower than what we are supposed to charge as per the new fuel prices. We won’t be able to provide services at such subsidized prices for long. Unless the government comes up with a new tariff structure soon, we will have no choice but to strike,” he said.

Transport chief Mahbubur echoed Ratan’s position, saying, “We will of course follow the decision that comes from above, but I don’t see any other option but to raise the fare.”

Hosne Ara Begum, an Ena passenger bound for Dhaka, was upset by the massive increase in fuel prices as she described the impact it would have on her life.

“Today, I pay the normal rate. From tomorrow, it will be God knows how much. The way the government raises the prices of goods and services in all sectors, our lives have become unbearable,” she said.

Another passenger on the same coach, Rabiul Awal, said: “A few days ago the government declared that there is no fuel crisis in the country. So why did the government suddenly raise fuel prices? I would like the government to respond to that. ”

Some other operators, namely Soukhin Paribahan and Shalbon Paribahan, were operating while charging unauthorized higher tariffs.

Mohammad Ali, a passenger on a Sukhin Paribahan coach to Dhaka, said he was charged Tk50 above the normal price, citing rising fuel prices.

Md Aslam assistant driver for Shalbon Paribahan said the fare was Tk 20 from Mymensingh town to Trishal but now they charge Tk 25 due to the trek.

“Previously the fare from Mymensingh to Trishal was Tk 20. The fare has now been increased to Tk 25 due to increased fuel prices from Friday night.”

Transport owners alleged that most petrol stations in Mymensingh temporarily closed services for a few hours after 10 p.m. Friday and reopened after 12 p.m. Saturday to take advantage of the price hike, which came into effect when the clocks went up. struck midnight.

Denying the allegation, Shamsul Alam, manager of the MS Star service station in the city’s Maskanda district, said: ‘We had to shut down services due to a massive rush of incoming vehicles. Everyone came to the station to fill up before the entry into force of the new tariffs. We reopened shortly thereafter.

“Of course we profit a bit more,” he said.