The Ministry of Transportâ€™s Road Transport Board acceded to the public transport operatorsâ€™ pressure of hiking transport fares for the second time in less than a yearâ€™s period.
The Boardâ€™s Chairperson Limema Phohlo announced the new transport fees expected to come into effect from June 24, 2022. He indicated that their research which entails views from inter alia economists, justified that the 30% fare increase requested by the operators under the auspices of the Lesotho Taxi Operators Association, was a fair rate.
â€œTaxi fares will increase by 30% for local (within a 10km radius of town) which will raise fares to M12.00 for 4+1, M11.00 for minibus, M8.00 for sprinters and M7.00 for buses. Long distance trips will be hiked by 21.1% and correct estimations can only be made on different prices that are current according to kilometers travelled,â€ he said.
According to Limema, one of the main reasons for the hike was the rise in living commodities prices which commodities include fossil fuels such as petrol not only in Lesotho but also in other countries of the world.
â€œWe have decided to increase the fares following a trend of increasing food commodities as well as petrol and that forced us to take action in order to allow transport industry also to grow,â€ he said, adding that the decision was reached after assessing the state of economy in the country.
Phohlo stated that the new prices will be effective from June 24 to give commuters enough time to prepare themselves.
Meanwhile, â€˜Mathabo Tsâ€™osane Traffic Commissioner, who is also the Transport Board Secretary indicated that, the Board is guided by the Road Transport Act of 1981 together with its amended regulations.
â€œThe announcement is made today to give commuters a chance to get prepared as well as giving them time for price lists that will be collected from a week before June 24, 2022â€ she said.
For his part, Chairman of the Lesotho Taxi Operators Association Mokete Jonase said looking at how everything is increasing in terms of prices including petrol, 30% hike is actually comparatively quite lesser.
â€œWe have realized that, 30% hike is already lesser but that is what we asked for. We cannot just change our demands now. We will have to accept it and live with it,â€ he said. The hikes announcement comes some seven months since the last one which was effected at the beginning of November 2021. Usually public transport fares are expected to be increased on an annual basis although even that has not been forthcoming over the years.