Govt approves 20% taxi hike

31 August 2018 | Transport

ELLANIE SMIT

Namibians will have to cough up more for bus and taxi fares from tomorrow after a 20% increase was approved.

The Road Transportation Board yesterday announced the 20% hike in bus and taxi fares across the board. This effectively means that the usual fare of N$10 will now cost N$12.

Present at the announcement were members of the Windhoek City Police, stakeholders in the transport sector and unions representing the industry.

Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) president Werner January, who had been advocating for a 50% increase, stormed off immediately after the announcement.

The chairperson of the Road Transportation Board, Percy McNally, said the board had received three requests for fare increases. These were made by the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association, the Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association and NTTU.

McNally said the board considered the requests and consulted with the applicants as well as a group representing commuters.

He said several factors were taken into account: the present state of the economy and ever-increasing fuel prices, commodity prices and the general cost of living.

“Due regard was given to the fact that the last increase was in 2014 and the fuel price has increased drastically since then,” he said.

McNally said the board also took into consideration the current global recession, from which Namibia has not been spared.

He urged all public transport permit holders to comply with the new fare structure.

Cedric Limbo, the director of transportation at the transport ministry, stressed that this was the official position of the government and that no other increases in taxi or bus fares would be acceptable. He said if any taxi or bus driver overcharged passengers, they would be dealt with accordingly.

“There is no 50% increase,” he emphasised.

The board intends to issue a tariff booklet listing all applicable fares by 31 October in order to prevent overcharging.

Shortly after the announcement Januarie said in a statement that the NTTU would obey the rules. But he now demands that taxi owners must pay traffic fines, and not their drivers.

The announcement followed months of demands by the NTTU, which had initially asked for a 20% hike, only to raise the demand to 50%.

That led to several standoffs with the police, including a strike in April which led to 40 taxis being impounded. Januarie has repeatedly threatened to sue the government.

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