Ondangwa — Taxi and bus operators in the north, in a heated meeting yesterday urged the Namibian Buses and Taxi Association (NABTA) to implement a 50 percent tariff increase for both long and short distances.
The 50 percent hike will translate into a N$ 5 increase from the usual N$ 10 within town and a N$10 to areas out of town.
They demand for an additional N$50 for long distances.
The meeting was held in Ondangwa. The last tariff increase was implemented in 2012.
The meeting which was headed by NABTA Secretary General Pendapala Nakathingo also want the association to push government to make the permits required to transport passengers accessible.
At the moment, taxi and bus operators charged the process is cumbersome leading pirate operators to transport passengers without the requisite public transport permits.
Equally, the meeting also pushed NABTA to implement regulations that will stop the rental of transportation permits. "The process to acquire a transport permits is cumbersome. But what is sad is that those who have this permits are not even in the business, some are even students, but those of us who are in the business struggle to acquire them," another angry operator charged. The operators also accused NABTA of failing its members as it does not push or implement resolutions taken by the operators.
They accused NABTA of being good at holding consultative meetings, but nothing good ever comes out of its long meetings.
They said they have not received feedback on issues already raised a few years back. On the increase of the tariffs, the operators further charged that business is slow and hardly makes any profit. Joseph Kapolo who drives between the north and Walvis Bay said there is a mismatch between the price and distance travelled as customers at the moment only pays a few cents per km.
"We are probably the lowest paid operators, we make only a few cents per km travelled but everything else in the country has been on the increase," Kapolo said.
They claim fuel has increased three times this year alone while car service, car parts have also increased over the years, but their tariffs have been static for six years.
"Even individual salaries and the social grants availed by government are increasing yearly. How do we survive? It is as if we are only working for fuel and car maintenance," said an irate operator.
Bus and taxi operators have given NABTA until next week Wednesday to implement their resolutions taken at the meeting.