Although there is now no passenger pressure from Dhaka after Eid, bus owners are still charging outbound people up to double the fares.
While people who have started returning to Dhaka after spending Eid holidays are counting extra fares, those who are going out of the capital have complained that they had to pay 50% higher on non-AC buses and double on AC buses.
People arriving at various bus terminals were complaining about paying exorbitantly high fares on their trips back home.
Mehedi Hasan, a passenger from Gaibandha, reached Mohakhali bus terminal by an Ena Paribahan AC bus at 7am on Thursday. He told The Business Standard that the usual roundtrip bus fare was Tk800, but it went to Tk1,500 before and after Eid.
He said he was helpless and had no choice but to pay extra because his office was opening on Thursday.
Jahidul Islam, an Ena Paribahan ticket salesman at Mohakhali, explained that they were not charging any extra fare but "only some extra money for Eid".
Passengers at various bus terminals in the capital also complained about having to pay extra on the day after Eid-ul-Fitr (Wednesday).
A recent study by the Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh found that transport owners would collect around Tk8,000 crore in additional fares on the occasion of Eid this year.
People close to the fare-fixing process said the government did not set the fare for Eid this time, which means that the standard fare set by the government should have applied for Eid, but that was not the case.
The government also did not set any Eid fares for AC buses.
Transport workers said during Eid, their buses have to return to the capital with almost zero passengers. This extra cost is being charged to passengers to make up for the losses.
Ali Ashraf Sabuj, who travelled to Bogura from Mohakhali, told TBS that the Shah Fateh Ali Paribahan AC bus fare from Dhaka to Bogura is Tk600, but they charged him Tk1,200 on Wednesday.
It was the same at the Gabtoli and Saidabad bus terminals.
Sulaiman Mia, a non-AC bus passenger from Gabtoli to Rangpur, told TB on Wednesday, "I used to go to Rangpur on Eid for Tk700-800. Today I had to pay Tk1,100."
Nazmul Islam, a multi-national company employee, was travelling to Pabna by a Pabna Express AC bus on Wednesday afternoon from Kallyanpur. He told TBS the fare was Tk700 before Eid but now it was Tk1,500.
The ticket salesman of Pabna Express, Atiqul Islam, admitted that they do a brisk business every Eid. They were charging additional fares following that practice.
When contacted for comments over charging extra fares, Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, chairman of the Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners Association, said passengers were complaining about the extra fares but bus owners offer various discounts throughout the year but do not do so during Eid.
Ramesh, also the owner of Shyamoli Paribahan, claimed that usually if anyone gets off the bus before the destination, they would pay accordingly, but during Eid even if they get off early they have to pay the full fare.
For example, he said, if one goes to Cox's Bazar by a bus destined for Teknaf, one has to pay the full Teknaf fare. The passengers have to consider the owners' side too, he added.
Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association's secretary-general Mozammel Haque Chowdhury told TBS that the argument being used by the bus owners and authorities for charging extra is completely illegal. "It cannot be called anything but fare terrorism."
The authorities concerned are silent on this matter. Taking advantage of their indifference, transport owners have become reckless and are charging extra, he added.