Why do students hesitate to rent half?
The rise in commodity prices seems to have cut common peoples' throats. Recently, the government has increased the price of diesel by Tk 15 per liter. At the consumer level, the price of diesel has been increased from Rs 65 per liter to Rs 80 per liter having a negative impact on public transport fares. The fare for long distance buses has been increased by Tk 60 per km and for buses plying in Dhaka and Chittagong metropolis it has been increased to Tk 2.15 paisa per km and for minibuses Tk 2.5 paisa. According to the rescheduled fare, passengers have to pay a minimum of Tk 8 for a bus and Tk 10 for a minibus.
As a result of this increase in rent, the students studying in schools, colleges and universities are most at risk. Because the bus drivers-helpers are not taking student fare i.e. half pass. On the other hand, students are humiliated whenever they talk about half side. They are being abused.
Students complain that they do not earn income. Almost everyone manages the money with family money, some for tuition and some for part time job or any other means. Considering this situation, half rent should be taken from them. But sadly, the truth is that students are sometimes insulted and sometimes pushed off the bus whenever they talk or pay half fare. At present, there is a checker or Abil system in the buses and they say that there is a checker in front and you have to pay full fare. It is also said that there is no 'half fare' in our bus.
Recently, a student of Dhania College in Jatrabari area of the capital was pushed out of the bus by a bus helper as he wanted to pay half fare.
Four students of Titumir College boarded a safety transport bus on the Mirpur-Gulistan route from Shewrapara to Agargaon. In Agargaon, when they asked the bus checker to cut the fare halfway, there was an argument. At one stage, the bus was stopped and several bus drivers and helpers beat up four students of Titumir College.
Tanvir Ahmed, a student of Dhaka College, wanted to pay half fare when he was going to the campus by Mirpur Metro bus in the morning, but instead of taking the fare, the bus helper abused him. Later, the students of Dhaka College stood in front of the main gate of the college and protested in the streets demanding half rent. The agitating students turned away from the road after the college administration and the police assured them of realizing the demand.
And lastly two students of Cumilla University were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries by the bus helper. This is the picture of half rent in our country. But if we try to know a little bit about the outside world, we see that in almost all countries there is a system of half fare for students, in Bangladesh only students are hesitant about half fare.
Neighboring India has the same half-fare system as Chicago in the United States, Melbourne in Australia or Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Half-fare for students is also available in many countries in Africa and Europe, including Malta and Mauritius. The government of our neighboring country, the state of Karnataka in India, is allocating funds for the free movement of students. In Delhi, students can travel by public bus all month with a Rs 100 (around Rs 130) card.
Other passengers on the AC bus need a card of Rs 1,275 per month, while students have to pay Rs 200. The minimum bus fare in the Indian state of Kerala is Rs. With this, students can travel 40 kilometers with an extra rupee. It is also used in many countries in Europe and Africa, including the United States and Australia. The Chicago Transport Authority of the United States has introduced a card for students, which allows them to travel at half fare on buses and trains. But the problem is only in Bangladesh.
About 6,000 buses ply on 246 routes of the capital. However, only a handful (15-16) of these routes is half-rented. But at present, due to the increase in the fare of Ganapatibahan, they do not want to take half fare on any route. Again, most of the buses have ' No Half Pass ' written on the door or side. In 1984, BRTC officially started providing public transport services with four buses.
From that time onwards, students were given half fair privileges by the government. But it was a complete government service. At that time, according to the rules of government buses, students were also given half fare privileges in private buses. But there was no written rule in this regard. Gradually it became a custom, which continued for some time afterwards. But there is no written rule. And since the government has not entered into any agreement with the private bus company for half fare, they are not obliged to take this half fare.
According to experts, if the government had an agreement with private public transport to provide services to ordinary passengers, there would be an agreement on half fare for students, including not charging extra fare other than the fare fixed by BRTA. It would have been better and there would not have been so much debate about it. According to them, in almost all countries of the world, the government has agreements with private public transport.
The bus owners-drivers-helpers are expressing reluctance day by day as there is no government agreement and no written law. But considering the complaints of the students, the private company should be humane towards them. Besides, the government of Bangladesh should also come forward in this regard.
One thing everyone should think about is how the students will bear the burden of this extra fare. A student who has no income has to reach out to his family as soon as he leaves home, where double rent is a curse. The bus fare anarchy must be resolved quickly by thinking about the students. The students need to be ensured half fare.
The writer is a student, Institute of Education and Research, Jagannath University.