ZAMBIA Consumer Association executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga has said the reduction of pump prices of fuel has not benefited the commuters in Kitwe because bus operators have refused to reduce the bus fares.
Mr Ililonga said the refusal by bus operators to reduce bus fares following the reduction of fuel pump price defeated efforts aimed at lowering the cost of living.
In an interview in Kitwe yesterday, Mr Ililonga said he was saddened that he had continued to receive reports from commuters that bus operators had not reduced bus fares despite Government's decision to reduce the pump price of fuel.
He urged Government to order the local authorities to review bus fares so that they reduce bus fares that would reflect the intended purpose of benefiting the commuters.
"Now that it is very clear that bus operators do not want to reduce bus fares, Government must order local authorities to review bus fares so that they reduce bus fares that would benefit the commuters.
"We can't have a situation where bus operators are defeating Government's decision of lowering the cost of living of people. Government took a move to reduce the pump price of fuel and we expected bus operators to transfer the benefits to the people by reducing bus fares, but nothing has come," Mr Ililonga said.
Mr Ililonga said it was imperative that bus operators reduce bus fares because Government did not reduce the pump price of fuel to enrich bus operators only, but to also benefit commuters.
He said it was sad that pleas from commuters for bus operators to reduce bus fares following the reduction of fuel pump price had fallen onto deaf ears.
"It is really sad that bus operators have refused to reduce bus fares following the reduction of fuel pump price. It shows that these bus operators have no regard for the Government," he said.
And some commuters talked to by the Times yesterday said the reduction of pump price had made no difference to them because they were still paying the same bus fares.
Ireen Chungu, who was traveling from Kitwe City Centre to KAMS station near Toyota Zambia in the Industrial area, was shocked when she was told to pay K3,000 the same as Chimwemwe route.
"Even on the same Chimwemwe route, bus fares should be reduced from the K3,000, which we were initially paying before the reduction of the fuel pump price to something lower, but these callboys are just stealing from us," Ms Chungu said.
Some mini-bus drivers to talked to said they were waiting for the owners of the buses to instruct them to effect the reductions.