By Petronella Sibeene
The Public Transport Sector is another casualty of the fuel price increases and inevitably, the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) yesterday announced that bus and taxi fares are going up by 10 percent.
“Nabta has demonstrated its sympathy for the passengers but this time, we have to increase the fares by 10 percent,” Magnus Nangombe, the association’s president told New Era.
Last Friday, the Ministry of Mines and Energy announced for the sixth time this year, another fuel hike that took effect yesterday.
For Nabta, this would be the second fare increase this year. Just last week, the City of Windhoek also announced a one Namibian dollar increase in bus fares.
Fuel has gone up by 75 cents for both leaded and unleaded petrol, while diesel is up by 66 cents.
Taxi fare will now increase by 50 cents and Nabta is yet to announce when the new public transport fares will take effect.
He added that the increase is per person and when it comes to the luggage especially for long distance travellers, operators will charge for big bags.
Similarly, each passenger is entitled to hand luggage.
A taxi operator, Ndemufayo Amagongo, says the fuel price hike has affected his business seriously and the current taxi fares do not cover costs.
“It is very difficult. Even if the taxi fare will now become N$7.50, it is too little,” lamented Amagongo.
He was also quick to add that not every taxi user has a good salary, thus taxi drivers are also cognizant of the pressure any increase would have on their clients’ pockets.
Economists already warned that the poor are likely to be gravely affected by the new price increase of commodities around the globe and in Namibia particularly.
Food prices, water and electricity tariffs have all gone haywire with fuel price increases attributed to increases at all levels.
Two years back when taxi fare was N$6, Amagongo says there were more customers and the pay cheque at the end of the month was encouraging.
With the entrance of illegal operators in the industry, he says customers are decreasing as they are snatched away by unlicensed players who usually ask cheaper fares.
“Now we are suffering. We cannot find people because bakkies are taking away business,” he added.
“While in a month, a taxi can bring in an income of about N$6?