Transport shortage has residents in a huff

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Residents of the low-income informal settlements of Ombili, Havana and Greenwell Matongo are lamenting the scarcity of public transport.

Residents of these high-density informal settlements on the fringes of the capital often commute to Klein Windhoek, Academia and Hochland Park where they work as domestics.

Recently the government gazetted a law compelling all employers of domestic workers to pay them a minimum of N$1 218 and other benefits that were absent before the law came into effect.

Residents rely on municipal buses that charge N$6 for a one-way trip compared to taxis that charge over three times that amount, as they charge N$20.

New Era last week on Friday spoke to people who experience overcrowded municipal buses in the informal settlements around Windhoek, whose population now exceeds 320 000.

“The municipal transport system has been the same for over 24 years, but I feel its level of efficiency and quality deteriorated over that time. I feel dissatisfied with the municipal bus service in Windhoek, particularly because of issues of overcrowding that plague the transport system. People push each other which is very dangerous and it can cause injuries,” said Fillipus Simeon Tangeni a redident of Ombili.

“The City of Windhoek needs to add more buses,” suggested Tangeni.
One Havana resident, Anita Naris, said: “The demand for municipal bus services has increased tremendously in the past few years and buses don’t reach our bus stops on time – sometimes they don’t even show up at all. The situation is very bad and it’s getting worse every day.”

Lukas Ebas a resident of Greenwell Matongo chipped in: “City of Windhoek buses are very slow, they take almost two hours to reach our work places, and due to the heavy traffic in the morning I reach work an hour late which is not good at all.”

A third year student at the University of Namibia (Unam) Maria Nambambi says: “The municipality introduced a dedicated bus service for students of the University of Namibia (Unam), the Polytechnic of Namibia and the International University of Management that operates every evening from Monday to Friday. However, Unam students complain about the overcrowding, claiming that by the time these buses make their way to the campus they are already packed with passengers.”

“Students therefore have to be crammed into buses, which makes the trip extremely uncomfortable and many of them would rather opt to take a taxi instead,” added Nambambi.

The City of Windhoek however says for as little as N$6 if paid in cash or N$5 through a smart card payment per person, their bus services provides affordable mobility to residents.

“However, the city is aware of the need for the bus service to operate daily and it is in the process of procuring more buses in the coming financial year,” City of Windhoek public relations officer Lydia Amutenya said.

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