Taxi and bus fares up 20 percent

31 August 2018 Author   Kaula Nhongo

Bus and taxi fares will go up by 20 percent, effective Saturday, 1 September, the Road Transport Board has announced. 
In Windhoek, taxi fares will rise from the current N$10 to N$12 per journey while people who want to be dropped off at their homes will have to fork out at least N$24.

Road Transport Board (RTB) Chairperson, Percy McNally, announced the increase on Thursday, saying the board had considered a number of factors including the present state of the economy, the ever-increasing commodity prices and the overall cost of living.
The board also considered that bus and taxi fares were last increased in 2014.
The increase will come as a body blow to the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU), which has been calling for a 50 percent taxi fare increase by September.
Union leader, Werner Januarie, had insisted that the steep taxi fare increase would be effected because of the high cost of living, high maintenance costs, high petrol and fuel costs, and the 100% increase in the issuance of certificates of conduct.
Januarie told the Windhoek Observer on Thursday that his union has no problem with the 20 percent increase.
“This was our initial request to have the fare increased by 20 percent so we are happy either way. We had suggested the 50 percent because we wanted to relieve the drivers because they are under pressure from taxi owners to reach a target everyday which is not possible when taxis are N$10,” Januarie said. 
Namibia Bus and Taxi Association president, Vespa Muunda, also said that they were happy with the increase, which he said was fair.
“We are happy with the ministry’s decision to increase with 20 percent. I am sure everyone including the commuters will also be happy,” Muunda said.   
The increase comes as the Ministry of Mines and Energy has announced a fuel price increase of N$0,25 per litre for petrol and diesel countrywide, effective from 1 August 2018.
It said the fuel price increase is a result of an increase by the same amount in fuel tax announced by Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, in his budget statement on 7 March 2018. 
The fuel tax increase became effective on 4 July 2018, but was only passed on to the consumer through the most recent pump price increase.
It was the third consecutive price increase for petrol and the fourth for diesel. 
Petrol prices for Windhoek have increased by 7,9 percent and diesel (50ppm) prices by 10,3 percent since the beginning of the year. 
Compared to August 2017, petrol and diesel prices are 14,6 percent and 24,7 percent higher, respectively. 
Petrol now costs N$12,97 per litre, and diesel N$13,36 per litre in Windhoek. 
Fare increments are regulated in terms of Section 12b of the Road Transport Act, 1977 (Act 4 of 1977).
Commuters who spoke to the Windhoek Observer on the impact the increase will have on their pockets said, although a 20 percent increase seems small, it will have a major impact.
Windhoek resident Musa Carter said the cost of living is even going to become higher for individuals seeing that salaries are remaining the same.
“If you add it up, at the end of the month you will see that it is actually quite a lot,” Carter said.
Another resident, who refused to be named, commended the government and the unions on the decision to not increase the taxi fare by 50 percent, adding that the 20 percent was reasonable.

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