Minibus crews should employ new fare chart

It is illegal for minibus drivers to insist on charging old fares when there was a new fare chart with reduced charges following the Government’s decision to reduce fuel pump prices by K2 per litre.

Bus and Taxi Drivers Association (BTDA) secretary general Sidney Mbewe said the new fare chart devised by the vehicle owners has been in effect since January 27, 2015 but that some drivers have complained about the negative effect of the reduction.

Mr Mbewe said drivers have expressed concern about the recent 100 percent increment in presumptuous tax which diluted the benefits from the fuel price reduction.

“There are various concerns about the bus fare reduction which included the 100 percent presumptuous tax increment imposed on the transport sector despite the high number of unregistered vehicles operating in the sector.

“Most minibus drivers have refused to reduce bus fares because of the illegal activities going on unchecked in the sector,” he said.

The Bus and Taxi Owners Association (BTOA) recently announced that all public passenger transporters should effect the new bus fares by today. to allow commuters enjoy the benefits from the global fuel price reduction.

Mr Mbewe explained that while the fuel reduction indicated an upswing in business for the transporter, drivers complained that the benefit was however cancelled by the high level of illegal activities in the industry where privately owned minibuses and taxis were working without registration.

He said law abiding operators have ended up being surcharged with high operation costs in taxes and station fees while unregistered vehicles were left scot-free from financial obligations.

“The business upswing which should have been providing the benefits are being swallowed up by the high number of illegal transporters bringing competition in the industry, which has an impact on the business income and does not support the fare cuts,” he said.

The Government through the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) effected an average reduction of 23 percent on fuel pump prices which translated in a K2 reduction per litre but transporters have refused to share the benefits of the downward fuel price adjustment with commuters owing to the high cost of doing business as well as increased levels of illegal activities in the transport sector.

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