Bus services in Chattogram are charging extra fares from home-bound passengers who expect to celebrate the Eid holidays with families and friends.
Passengers allege that some bus counters are even taking Tk200 to Tk500 more than the usual ticket prices.
On Wednesday afternoon, a visit to the Garibullah Shah area of the city, where 30-35 ticket counters of different bus companies are selling tickets, revealed that only two of the counters have a ticket fare list. For a Chattogram-Dhaka ticket, passengers are compelled to cough up Tk580 to Tk600 or even Tk750.
A ticket seller at the Green Line bus counter said, "If you go today, the price of a Chattogram-Dhaka ticket will be Tk800, but if you go tomorrow, the price will be Tk1,000."
"People are swarming at the counters in a rush for tickets. We do not have time to argue about ticket prices," he added.
Junaidul Haque has bought Ctg-Dhaka tickets for 28 April night from the same counter for Tk1,000. He said, "Tickets were not available at any fixed price.
So, I was forced to buy tickets at an extra cost."
Two counters of Shyamoli were seen selling tickets for the Dhaka-Sylhet route for Tk800 and Tk850. The ticket seller said, "We are charging extra fares due to rising fuel prices and lack of passengers on the way back. On top of that, the pressure of home-going passengers is also higher this time."
Unique and Saudi bus counters are charging Tk580 for the Chattogram-Dhaka route, Tk1,100 for the Chattogram-Benapole route, Tk900 for the Chattogram-Sirajganj route, Tk800 for the Chattogram-Sylhet route, Tk680 for the Chattogram-Aricha route and Tk600 for the Chattogram-Gazipur route.
Other bus counters, which do not have a fare list, are raking in Tk200 to Tk500 in extra fare for each of these routes.
However, AC bus services are charging Tk1,200 to Tk1,400 for Ctg-Dhaka tickets.
The bus owners are taking such extra fares despite the authorities' order to charge the usual fare during Eid. The district administration has already taken some action to prevent such activities, but they are not enough.
On 19 April, a mobile court of the district administration fined Sohag Paribahan and Shyamoli NR Travels Tk7,000 for not displaying the fare list and taking extra fare at the Dampara bus counter in the city.
The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection has fined Hanif and Shyamoli Paribahan Tk110,000 for the same reason.
Niaz Morshed Elite, vice-president of the Chattogram Inter-District Bus Owners Association, said, "We had a meeting with the bus owners last week. We made it clear at the meeting that no additional fare can be charged. If anyone violates the decision, strict measures will be taken against them."
Anisur Rahman, assistant director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection Chattogram, said, "We are keeping a close look on long distance bus counters. Earlier, we conducted operations in this regard and found cases of extra fare being charged from customers. Many bus counters have been warned and fined."
Piyush Kumar Chowdhury, executive magistrate (staff officer to DC) of Chattogram District Administration, said, "We are also conducting operations at long distance bus counters. We have already fined various counters for not having a fare list. If anyone complains to us about extra fare, we will take appropriate action."