Namibia: Union Wants N$14 Taxi Fare to Be Permanent

The Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) has threatened to start charging customers double if the taxi fare is reset at N$12.

Taxi and bus fares were increased by 15% in May to cushion operators against the negative effects of Covid-19 regulations on their income as they were forced to carry a limited number of passengers at a time.

However, president Hage Geingob on Wednesday lifted the restrictions on the number of passengers in public, private and group tour vehicles.

This means vehicle occupancy can revert to the original manufacturers' specifications, and drivers, operators and passengers are required to continue taking the necessary precautions.

Union leader Werner Januarie said according to the Roads Authority Act, customers should be charged double if they are not dropped off at a taxi rank.

Januarie explained that a taxi rank is a place where taxis wait for customers while the stop is a designated area where a passenger can be dropped off or picked up, however, there are limited structures of this nature in the city.

He added that if the taxi fare is returned to N$12, then operators would retaliate in line with the law which will be a punishment to the customers.

The unionist further said the current taxi fare balances out the cost of living which went up.

"I'm encouraging all members to come to my office or call me if they are unsure of what to do. I am in the process of drafting a letter for them in the event they meet law enforcement agents and don't know how to explain why they are charging double the normal fare," he said.

Meanwhile, national secretary general of the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) Pendapala Nakathingo welcomed the fare reverting back, saying the increment was only meant to cushion operators for a limited time.

Nakathingo added that they also plan engaging the government on wavering the log books for long distance drivers from paying the full amount since they were only carrying limited passengers.

In addition, they want payment of fine tickets issued to taxi drivers or operators to be postponed to next year while they recover from the effects of Covid-19.

During the Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, minister of justice Yvonne Dausab said the public transport fare would revert to pre-lockdown levels since the regulation of the number of passengers had been lifted.

"The idea behind increasing fares was because we reduced the number of people who were being carried in that particular vehicle but then it would have to be readjusted to be in line with what is ordinarily applicable," she said.

The Namibian could not get comment from the Ministry of Works and Transport on the situation about the public transport fare.

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