• August 12th, 2020

Bus, seven-seater owners fight over turf

Shoki Kandjimi 

Bus, mini-bus and seven-seater drivers clashed on Tuesday at SADC Square commuters rank in Rundu.
 Bus owners accused seven-seater owners of having encroached on their turf, ‘stealing’ their customers. This is despite the fact the latter apparently does not have transportation permits.

Bus owners are grumbling that seven-seater owners despite not possessing public transportation permits have for a long time encroached into the turf of buses, where they snatch passengers from Rundu to other towns and the profits of bus owners have seen a visible decline
Law enforcement officers had to be called in to maintain order as bus drivers parked their buses at points where seven-seaters usually park to receive their customers.  Some of the bus operators illegally demanded N$50 for each trip made by their competitors. This amount is usually paid to the operators of SADC Square Rank for maintenance purposes for every trip made by the buses. Cuthberf Lunga, the chairperson of SADC Square Rank representing bus drivers accused seven-seater owners of not having permits to carry passengers and a tax certificate as required by the Traffic Act.  “These seven-seaters have been disturbing our income for a while now. All they do is steal our customers, load them and drive off,” bitterly complained Lunga. He accused them of not following the procedures such as maintaining a queue that operates on the first-come first-to-load basis.

Lunga believes this agreement has been working for years and it has been fair for every driver. 
He further referenced a logbook, which is used to calculate kilometres at NaTIS and determine the amount paid each year by the bus owners. He said bus drivers pay over N$25 000 a year because they travel long distances. The chairperson said the bus owners are now unable to pay these fees because the seven-seaters have stolen their customers, thus it is difficult for them to generate sufficient income. Laban Hangula, who owns a seven-seater was unhappy with the way bus drivers treated them early in the morning by stopping them from conducting their business. He said despite all the allegations, the choice remains with the travellers on which mode of transport they would like to travel. 

“The bus drivers must understand that it is not up to them to choose but it is up to the customers at the end of the day. There is a reason why customers prefer us than buses. Bus drivers drive too long, which can be very exhausting for customers,” Hangula said in response.  However, Lunga insisted bus drivers are regulated by set laws and he advised seven-seater drivers to follow the law and apply for a permit, that will enable them to carry passengers over long distances. Currently, seven-seaters transport passengers from Rundu to Divundu, Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Oshakati, Katima Mulilo and Grootfontein.  Pedro Adriano who also operates a seven-seater advised bus drivers to move with the times, by making their buses look attractive to their customers, that way argued Adriano they will not lose customers and blame the seven-seater operators for their loses. 
He implored the bus drivers to meet them and make an agreement to prevent future disputes.

Staff Reporter
2020-06-19 10:59:42 | 1 months ago

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