By Sifiso Dlamini | 2020-01-15
Transport operators found to have charged fares higher than the gazetted ones, would be breaking the law.
This was mentioned by Eswatini National Road Transport Council (NRTC) Chairperson Sihlangu Nhlabatsi.
This was after the publishing of the bus fare hike gazette by the ministry of works and public transport on Friday.
He said as much as this was not common practice by transport operators, they could not ascertain if it would not occur.
“We encourage all commuters who feel they were charged higher than the gazetted fares to report the matter to the relevant authorities,” he said.
Nhlabatsi stated that commuters who had queries were free to report their issues to the various rank marshals, regional associations as well as the national council and the ministry of public works and transport.
The most important thing was for everyone to work together in honesty and be aware of the gazette, including commuters and transport operators. He said the gazette could be accessed by anyone and was available for purchase at Webster Printers in Mbabane.
He stated that commuters from Siteki reported that they were charged higher than the gazetted fare but only to find that they were charged the gazetted amount. He emphasised that it was important for all stakeholders to be aware and well versed about the gazette itself.
Nhlabatsi said as an association they were grateful to government for publishing the gazette.
“This meant that the new fares could be affected on Friday as per the gazette,” he said.
He stated that transport operators had a meeting last Thursday and unanimously agreed they would wait for the gazette to be published following which they would have a meeting tomorrow to discuss when they would all effect the proposed fees.
He stated that all transport operators were at liberty to implement the fares in the gazette but as transport associations, they saw it fit to have a meeting tomorrow to look at other factors such as the additional cents on the gazetted fees.
“In some routes, there were additional cents such as E0.30 or more and we would meet and decide if we would include these fees or remove them from the final fares to be implemented,” added Nhlabatsi.
He said transport operators would then display the final fares on their respective vehicles, bus stops as well as bus ranks for commuters to be aware of the fares to be paid.
This was meant to avoid confusion for commuters as schools reopen next week so that parents know how much bus fare they would give their children beforehand.
With regards to whether they were satisfied with the gazetted fares as transport operators, Nhlabatsi said the fares were requested by them as associations after analysing the impact fuel levy would have on their operations.
He added that the fares would assist them to ensure their businesses were still operational.
He stated that these fares would assist them but were not necessarily satisfactory because if that was the case, they would end up charging more which would affect their customers.
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