The number of Coronavirus infections and deaths in Bangladesh has been rising at an alarming pace in recent weeks. The Bangladesh government released a notification on March 29 (Monday) with 18-point directives to curb the covid-19 infection.
The guidelines stipulate that all forms of public events, including social, political, and religious gatherings, be restricted, as well as public gatherings in highly infected areas are also being prohibited. Furthermore, according to the notification guidelines, public transports are only permitted to carry 50% of its total capacity. To make things work, bus fare has raised by 60% for maintaining social distance.
The main reason for the government's decision to raise bus fare
To ensure social distancing, the government has ordered that passenger movement on public transportation be limited.
On the other hand, inter-district bus services have been instructed to be stopped if necessary. Coronavirus infection can be prevented by limiting people's movement in public places. This would lower the rate of infection and the number of people who die as a result of it across the country.
The government's decision to raise bus fare is primarily motivated by this. Meanwhile, the bus owners' association requested a 60% rise in per-person fare, citing the directive's obligation to transport half of the capacity. In response to their requests, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges accepted a proposal to raise bus fare by 60%, which will remain in effect from March 31 for two weeks (Wednesday).
However, Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader advised the transport owners to take the required measures to ensure that passengers adhere to the hygiene laws, such as wearing masks and using hand sanitizers.
Public opinions in regards to the increase of bus fare
Due to the low cost of travel, the city's local bus services are the primary mode of transportation for daily workers to reach their workplace in the capital. But the sudden rise in bus fare has exacerbated the plight of low-income people.
Furthermore, people are unable to arrive at their destination on time due to a shortage of transportation. Despite this, the public has backed the government's decision to fight the pandemic. “This is a good move. Since saving lives costs a lot of money given the current condition of the coronavirus, we should accept the government's decision,” A student said while traveling the BRTC bus in Gulistan on Wednesday. “This is a good initiative. If we only consider money, this decision would bring us difficulties.
However, it is important that everyone follow the hygiene rules at this moment,” A jobholder reflected on the government's decision. Meanwhile, when speaking with long-distance travelers, there was a mixed reaction. Some bus companies are collecting nearly double the fare by taking advantage of the government's notice. However, reputable bus services have raised fares by 60% in compliance with government instructions and have also installed hand sanitizers in accordance with hygiene guidelines.
Law enforcement authorities must constantly monitor bus service providers' activities in order to fully execute the government's decision. Apart from that, everybody, including the general public and transport companies, needs to be more sincere.
The potential effects of the coronavirus in Bangladesh in the summer
Although the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh has recently risen, experts predict that the number of covid-19 patients will not increase massively in the coming summer. Because people have begun to develop antibodies.
According to a report, approximately 74 percent of slum dwellers had antibodies. Furthermore, if vaccine activities continue, the effect of the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh will gradually decline. Besides that, if passenger movement in public transportation can be controlled for a period of time, the coronavirus infection could be controlled more effectively. Once the national vaccination campaign is finished, the situation is expected to improve even further.
Despite the fear of a covid-19 pandemic, if the expert's predictions come true, the general public will at least feel some relief in public transportation this summer.
The government has taken some important decisions as a precautionary measure for two weeks as the covid-19 situation in Bangladesh has unexpectedly worsened.
Coronavirus infections can be controlled by maintaining social distance and adhering to health laws, according to experts. In this case, low-income people have suffered financially. However, the majority of the population has welcomed the government's decision to raise the bus fare by 60% for maintaining social distance because it is in the country's best interests.