Authorities are failing to prevent bus operators, including those of CNG-run buses, from charging passengers exorbitant fares, above the recent 27% price hike.
Fares have also doubled for some routes.
To ensure that commuters are charged the fixed fares, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is conducting a number of mobile courts across the capital, but these efforts are yet to yield any positive result.
Harassing passengers and taking excess fare in the name of seating service will not be tolerated and will be cracked down on, warned Khandaker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association (BRTOA), while speaking at a press briefing jointly organised by the BRTOA and the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation on Wednesday in Dhaka.
"We have been receiving complaints that excess fare is being taken which is illegal," said Enayet Ullah, urging operators to stop charging more than the government fixed fare.
The CNG-run buses have to take the previous fare, said Enayet, adding that out of 120 transport companies within Dhaka city, only 13 used CNG-powered buses.
"The 13 companies have only 196 buses in total that use CNG fuel. Out of 6,000 vehicles, only 3.26% are CNG-powered".
The secretary general said 11 vigilance teams will be formed on Wednesday afternoon to ensure that passengers are not charged excess fare within the Dhaka metropolitan area.
While reading out a written statement on behalf of the owners and workers, he noted the teams will be supervised in coordination with BRTA and Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
"Stickers, provided by owners associations, will be used to differentiate between diesel and CNG-run buses," Enayet added.
The government increased the fares for intracity and long-haul buses by 26.5% and 27% respectively, following demands from bus owners of the country after a hike in diesel prices.
Meanwhile, at the meeting it was also decided that the "seating service" and "gate-lock service" will be abolished in Dhaka city within the next three days.
Enayet said the chaos stemming from these two systems arise both due to conductors and passengers. Now, whether a person is sitting on the journey or standing, the fare will be the same, he added.
Commuters' struggle sees no end
The Business Standard, during visits to different parts of the capital on Wednesday, found several bus companies violating government directives and forcing commuters to pay 50%-100% extra.
A number of passengers complained that they had to pay Tk10 to Tk30 more than they used to, which amounts to an increase of over 50%.
Heated arguments between transport workers and commuters were a common sight in Karwan Bazar, Mirpur, Shahbagh, Banglamotor, Gabtoli and Shyamoli areas.
Many passengers alleged that they were humiliated and assaulted by drivers and their assistants. Some were even forced off the buses for refusing to pay the demanded fare.
Most of the buses still did not have the new fare chart displayed inside.
Saleha Begum, who was travelling to ECB intersection from Mirpur 10 on a bus of Rajdhani Super Service, said she had to pay Tk10 more than the previous fare.
"They [bus owners] are hiking fares at their will. But our salaries haven't increased. Everyone, except the general people, are valued in this country," she said.
Another company, Porirsthan Transport, was seen charging passengers Tk40 for a trip from Abdullahpur to Shyamoli against the previous fare of Tk30.
Even the government-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) was taking more than the government-fixed fare.
Zakir Hossain, a BRTC bus helper, had been taking Tk10 for a journey from Mirpur-10 to Shyamoli. After the hike in fares, he has begun charging Tk15. According to the hike, however, the fare should be Tk13.
Contacted, BRTA spokesperson and Director Mahbub-E-Rabbani said, "We are working to bring the situation under control quickly. Mobile courts are being operated in Dhaka to punish those who are overcharging the passengers."
Earlier, following a meeting between the BRTA and transport leaders at the BRTA headquarters on Tuesday, a decision was taken to conduct joint drives in Dhaka city from Thursday to stop overcharging.
Regarding this, BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said they had received a number of allegations of overcharging and so they were conducting the drives.
Eleven executive magistrates of BRTA and the DMP, police personnel, and representatives of the transport associations will take part in the drives, he added.