â€¦operators decry measly and late public transport price hikes
The association of public transport operators, the Maseru Regional Transport Operators (MRTO) has decried the late implementation of the public transport price hike
According to the associationâ€™s Chairperson Mokete Jonase, the proposal for a 10% price hike announced this week by the transport ministry was reached by and between themselves and government last year.
The ministry announced the 10% price hike for public transport this week, which decision will be implemented from the first day of October 2021.
â€œWhat is done was supposed to have been done last year. The decision was reached last year but was never implemented. It was implemented after taxi operators started murmuring and expressing their dissatisfaction about the turn of events.
â€œWe will go back and collect the views and opinions of taxi operators on the price hike as well as what needs to happen going forward. But truly speaking 10% is very low,â€ he said.
Following the submission of document sent by the transport board to request for transport increase, the Minister of Transport decided to increase public transport fees with 10%.
The Transport Board Chairperson Limema Phohlo said before the decision, the Minister of Transport had presented the issue before Cabinet where the price hikes were duly approved.
The list for new transport fees will be available at the Ministry of Transport for operators to populate and publish for their commuters accordingly. However, as an example, for short trips (within 10km radius) commonly known as local, the fare will be after the following manner, 4plus1 taxis will increase from M8.00 to M9.00, while a 15-sitter minibus be increased from M7.50 to M8.50, Sprinter M6.50 and bus to M5.00.
Phohlo further stated that moving forward, and as a move avert transport operatorsâ€™ qualms, the transport board has decided that public transport fares will be increased each year, adding that the move is also intended to ensure that commuters use the public transport service satisfied. This is a decision reached by both the transport board and the Minister of transport.
Limema indicated that the nation should prepare for the changes in the transport fees each year and that this will be done while also cognizant of the economy.
â€œResearch has been done by specialists in the ministry to look into the state of our economy before deciding on the increase while also considering the impacts of Covid-19. So the impacts of covid-19 do not only affect consumers but also affect transport owners.
â€œThe increment of transport fees should have been done last year, but because of the research and the economical strides, transport could not be increased and the fees were left without an increment even when fuel prices increased, car parts prices, and also procurement of those parts was also a problem because of restricted movement,â€ he said.