Monday 14 June 2021
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Taxi fare war simmers

The Namibian Competition Commission has cautioned taxi operators not to effect any price increases in the absence of endorsement by the Transportation Board as such conduct would amount to prohibited price fixing in terms of the Competition Act.
NaCC said this in a statement issued on Wednesday in which it warned that taxi operators who collusively and intentionally impose fixed taxi fare increases without following the due process set out in the Road Transport Act will render themselves liable in terms of the Competition Act and thereby attract a formal investigation which may lead to punitive civil and/or criminal sanctions.
Taxi operators remain defiant however, saying they are aware about the impact of the increment on commuters, especially the poor, but without the fare hikes many operators would struggle to stay in business and continue to offer the much-needed service.
While the taxi fare debate remains a national concern, members of the public described the 50% increment proposal as “outlandish”.
The president of the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union, Werner Januarie said the 50% increment is based mostly on the running costs in the taxi fraternity “which is very high when it comes to things such as the oil, tyres, shocks or just the general car parts to maintain a car are very expensive.
“When one talks about food in general the prices are very high, so why is it a problem to increase the taxi fare when everything else is up, people don’t get discounts when they go to shops and buy food, so why should it be a problem with taxis? Another thing is that the economic hardship does not exempt taxis because they are not buildings, taxis are moveable objects and they need to be repaired every now and then,” he argued.
He further that he can’t let the union be pathetic like other unions, and for that he will make sure the union comply with the demands of its members.
A taxi cost increase that is said to be effective as from 1 September 2018, is seen as a one man decision by the members of the public who are not pleased by a 50% price increase. These are the reactions of the public members as they feel they were not included in the decision-making process.
“I personally feel the percentage increase comes with too much ego of the President of NTTU, because knowing him through the work we do together, he is a person who doesn’t listen to anyone’s view.
He doesn’t even negotiate and see how his verdict will affect the next person. But if he’s saying that an increment will go up based on the fuel price, does this mean that when the fuel price is going down he will write another proposal on the taxi fare to decrease ?” an anonymous source questioned.
He further said that the increment of the taxi fare is not thought through because there’s no way you want to increase the fare with 50% without giving justification. NTTU should come up with an increment that will accommodate everyone. He further added that, the crimes that are currently happening in the city, mostly occur in the taxis but who’s even talking about that?
The Patriot spoke to a number of students who are not in support with the idea of increasing the taxi fare with 50%. They are all urging the NTTU to at least reconsider this claim because most of them are depended on the NSFAF refund that used to come in a big amount and now it’s cut.
Students are seized with worry about what they will do if they don’t have the N$45 – then that means no lectures that day until you have money to go to school.
A Public Management student at the University of Namibia (UNAM) who preferred to be nameless said that the percentage increase was the worst decision she has ever heard this year because it is something that will affect students gravely. She continued by saying that the increment will lead to a lot of students changing their study modes to distance education, it will lead to more students dodging classes because of cab money problems. “How many of us are going to attend lectures if the increase becomes effective when a lot of us don’t go to school if there’s N$20?”
The taxi fare boost request have then affected people of different class whether it’s general workers, government workers, student and so forth. The issue became a serious concern to the public as some places were highly increased with so much money and a lot of them pay taxis for school going children.
A general worker at Northern Industry sadly said that, the increment of the taxi, will be some form of financial abuse because she goes to Northern Industry every day and she pays taxi for her two children of which one who goes to NUST and the other who goes to UNAM. She added that in a day that is already N$120 for taxi in a day since the fare will go up as from September, “how am I really going to survive this as I don’t get that much?”
Moreover she said, she has never heard of a 50% increase on anything and the fact that the economy of the country is falling apart doesn’t mean that they should divide the rich and the poor.
Minister of Works and Transport, Honourable John Mutorwa said in a Media statement that the Constitution of Namibia Act No. 74 of 1977 section 12 (3) states that a holder of Public permit authorised to convey persons for reward may at any time after an increase in the price of petroleum fuel in the Republic, increase such tariffs but not more than 10% of such tariffs.
“The Transportation Board will first be convened to process the demand applications, and the assessment will be conducted with consultation from all stakeholders that might be affected by the decision of the taxi fare increment,” he clarified.
He further urges the public to remain calm until the Transportation Board has reached its decisions.
However Januarie, disputed what Mutorwa said because he feel it is irrelevant and unconstitutional.
“Instead of Mutorwa always relying on that useless and illicit law, he should rather consider amending the law and come up with the new regulations in the taxi industry.
He should also stop quoting us from that law because he knows that it is insufficient. We are standing our ground for the interest of the members of NNTU,” he expressed.

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