Maputo — Operators of ferries across the Bay of Maputo are trying to ban buses and minibuses from picking up passengers on the road outside the jetties where the ferries moor, reports Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
For decades the ferries had a virtual monopoly on carrying both vehicles and pedestrians across the bay, between central Maputo and the outlying municipal district of Katembe.
That came to an end with the inauguration of the Maputo-Katembe suspension bridge over the Bay on 10 November. The Maputo municipal bus company, EMTPM, introduced routes from Katembe across the bridge to various parts of central and northern Maputo. Currently there are 12 EMTPM buses plying these routes.
There will soon be more, since the municipal council is introducing routes from Katembe to the outer neighbourhoods of Albasine and Malhazine. The routes will be used by private operators as well as by EMTPM.
The buses over the bridge stop to pick up passengers near the jetties on both sides of the Bay, leading to accusations of "unfair competition" from the ferry operators. Fearing for their survival, the ferries have cut their fares for pedestrians by a third, from 15 to 10 meticais (from 25 to 17 US cents).
The ferry operators got short shrift from the Municipal Council, which could see no reason for banning buses from picking up passengers near the jetty. So the operators are now thinking of appealing to the Ministry of Transport.
The director of transport in the Municipal Council, Carlos Diante, said it was up to citizens to decide which form of transport to use.
He added that the buses are not using the road outside the jetty as a terminal, but are merely picking up and unloading passengers there, in line with those passengers' requirements.
"We cannot talk about unfair competition", he said, "and nor can we stop buses from circulating near the jetty, since they are at the service of the public".