COMMUTERS have appealed for legal protection as stakeholders in the transport sector, says Commuters Association of Zambia president Aaron Kamuti.
Mr Kamuti said it was a big challenge for commuters not to have any legal protection in case of eventualities.
He said operators have not appreciated the role of commuters in their line of business and that they did not consult them on any happenings in the sector.
“It is a very big challenge we have, because we (commuters) are not appreciated as stakeholders in the transport sector.
“As commuters we have no protection under the law in relation to how the operators run the sector including when coming up with new bus fares, because they have an upper hand in everything they do,” said Mr Kamuti
Mr Kamuti was commenting on the slow process of reducing bus fares following Government’s decision to reduce fuel pump prices by over 23 percent.
Some Lusaka operators earlier proposed a bus fare reduction of 40 ngwee across all fares, which the Bus and Taxi Owners Association of Zambia rejected as being small and instead proposed amounts from 50 ngwee to K2, and up to K20 for local and long distance routes respectively.
But Mr Kamuti said it was unfair that commuters have continued to pay high fares when operators were enjoying low fuel prices and taking huge profits to their banks.
He said there was need to expedite the reduction of fares to help share the benefits of the fuel price cuts with the commuter.
“We want new fares to be effected as quickly as possible whether as agreed upon by bus owners’ associations or by individual operators, at least it should be a reduction on the commuters’ charge,” he said.
The Government recently effected a 23 percent fuel reduction culminating in about K2 drop per litre, but transporters have been dilly-dallying in coming up with a fare reduction reflecting the huge downward adjustment in fuel prices.