Drivers express resentment over the toll of Payra bridge



Jahir Rayhan, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Barishal
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

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The long-awaited Payra Bridge (Lebukhali Bridge) has been inaugurated. And around this bridge there is a tidal wave of enjoyment on both sides. However, the people are happy to cross the bridge in a short time, but there is extreme resentment among the drivers over the toll collection.

The drivers of this route said that it costs 50 taka for a passenger bus to cross the Payra River by ferry, but now it costs Tk. 340 to cross the bridge. The Payra Bridge Authority is collecting several times more toll on this bridge than other bridges. This could lead to an increase in fares for ordinary passengers on this route.

According to the Payra Bridge Authority, the Road Transport and Highways Department has published a gazette fixing the toll from vehicles crossing the bridge about a month and a half before the date of inauguration of the dream Payra Bridge.

According to the government's list of toll rates for the Payra Bridge set by the government's Roads and Highways Department, a maximum of Tk. 940 and a minimum of Tk. 10 has been fixed for vehicles on the Payra Bridge. Tk. 940 for container / heavy machinery / heavy goods and equipment transport, Tk. 650  for trucks with three or more axles, covered trucks / vans, container trucks and other articulated vehicles and Tk. 385 rupees for medium trucks, Tk. 340 for large passenger bus, Power Tiller - Tractor Tk. 225, Minibus Tk. 190, Microbus Tk.150, Pickup Tk. 150, Private Car Tk. 95.

Besides, toll is being collected at the rate of Tk. 40 for autorickshaw, Tk. 20 for motorcycle and Tk. 10 for rickshaw-van-bicycle and wheelbarrow.

Earlier, the fare of passenger bus on ferry was Tk. 50, four wheel car fare was Tk. 50, truck fare was Tk. 250 and motorcycle fare was Tk. 5.

A helper of a passenger bus named Md. Sohail Kabiraj told Barta24.com that the Payra bridge authorities were robbing in the day light in the name of collecting toll of the bridge. The bus fare of Tk. 50 on the ferry is now taking Tk. 340 on the bridge. Now the toll money will be collected from the bus passengers by increasing the fare. Besides, it will not be possible to run the bus. So if the enhanced toll collection does not stop, we will cross by ferry.

Kawsar Hossain Shipon, general secretary of the Barishal-Patuakhali Minibus Owners' Association, said a 25-seat minibus, which is 40 km from Barisal to Patuakhali, is to give fare at Tk. 80 per head. On this route two more bridges have to pay toll of Tk. 50.

At the same time there are employee salaries and oil costs. If we have to pay Tk. 340 toll on the big passenger transport at Payra Bridge, we have to pay Tk. 680 per round trip. The bus owners will face losses.

We have informed the bridge authorities in writing to reduce the issue of additional toll collection. If no action is taken then we will have no choice but to increase the bus fare.

Barishal Journalists Union (JUB) President Monirul Alam told Barta24.com that the launching of the Payra Bridge has brought about a radical change in the speed of commuting to Kuakata and Payra Port without ferries. Besides, socio-economic development, product marketing, trade and commerce, economy, education and culture will spread here. Therefore, considering all the aspects, the fixed toll rate of Payra Bridge has to be reconsidered. Otherwise, traveling with several times higher fares in regional communication may have a negative impact on the general people and tourists coming from far and wide.