Price hike adds to transport woes
A traffic-congested road in capital Dhaka
An upward revision of transport fares coming soon after a fuel price hike are causing much grief to people in Bangladesh. One such group of people badly affected are students who came from rural areas to the capital for education, who say they are suffering terribly because of soaring transport fares and daily essentials. “As the bus fare soars I need to squeeze my monthly expenses. Otherwise the allowance I get from my family will finish before time,” said Ashesh Rema, 23, a tribal Garo Catholic college student in Dhaka. “They (transport operators) are charging almost double the fare and we’ve no other choice but accept the pain,” said Chandana Gomes. There are 30 Christian hostels in Dhaka directly or indirectly run by priests, Religious and laypeople. The hostels that the Church runs make it possible for poor students and those from remote rural areas pursue an education in quality schools and colleges situated mostly in and around Dhaka. The hostels provide students with supervision, proper boarding and lodging and a place to study, free of charge or at affordable prices. “Transport operators at their whim charge extra money from us. Commuters are often seen arguing with bus conductors,” said James Karmoker, a credit union worker. Karmoker said the high prices of daily essentials have hit hard the mostly lower and middle class people. The government on Monday increased per kilometer bus and minibus fares by 35 paisa. The bus fare will now be 1.45 taka for minibuses and 1.55 taka for buses. The minimum fare of passenger buses has been fixed at 7 taka. The new fares are due to come into effect tomorrow. Last week the government raised prices of diesel, kerosene petrol and octane by 2 taka per liter. The government said revisions were needed to offset the impact of soaring international oil prices. Since the fuel price hike, many transport owners have raised fares arbitrarily. Prices of essential commodities, especially vegetables have risen.