Health Desk – 30 Mar, 2021: In the wake of growing Covid-19 cases and deaths, the government has increased the fares of public transport by 60% across the country as they will run with 50% passengers of carrying capacity from Wednesday.
The order will remain in force for the next two weeks, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said during an online press briefing on Tuesday.
Passengers will have to pay the additional bus fares from Wednesday, he said.
On May 31, 2020, the government had raised the fares of inter-district and long-haul buses and minibuses by 60% in order to compensate bus owners carrying 50% less passengers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Public transport had enjoyed that hike for two months.
With Covid-19 cases and deaths seeing a sharp rise over the past few weeks, the government on Monday again resorted to the same strategy in a bid to curb the Covid-19 surge, along with a fresh set of new restrictions.
As per the order, apart from carrying only 50% passengers, public transports will also have to comply with hygiene rules. It also said that inter-district vehicular movement should be restricted to high-risk areas of infection and kept shut if necessary.
Obaidul Quader said the fares will be decreased to what they are right now once the Covid-19 situation comes under control.
The minister asked the public transport owners and workers to be strict and ensure the absolute implementation of the hygiene rules, including masks and hand sanitisers.
Bangladesh Railway on Tuesday also announced that trains will also carry 50% passengers from April 1 for the next two weeks, in order to ensure the safety of the people.
It also said that 50% of the tickets for each train will be sold — 25% of those will be sold at the counters and 25% online.
Keeping with the recent surge in Covid-19 infections, the country on Monday recorded the highest ever cases — 5,181 — in a single day since March last year and the highest number of deaths — 45 — since August 28 last year.
With those numbers, the death toll went up to 8,949 and the total number of cases to 600,895, according to the health directorate.
Minister Quader on Tuesday also urged the people of the country to follow the 18 directives, issued by the government on Monday, and help curb the Covid-19 surge.