ONGWEDIVA - Long distance bus drivers at Oshakati are at loggerheads over the possibility of being relocated to the bus terminal at the open market at the town once the public transport by-law which is still under discussion is finalised and enforced.
Once the public-transport by-law has been gazetted, it will be mandatory for bus drivers operating from Oshakati to operate from the new bus terminal at the open market.
Although the bus drivers were previously engaged and had made input to the public transport by-law draft which was presented at the Oshakati Town Council yesterday, bus drivers operating outside the terminal argued that the new law will strangle their operations as they would be forced to join long queues, slowing their operation.
The draft was presented by the council’s consultant lawyer Frieda Kishi of Kishi Legal Practitioners.
However, those already operating from the terminal are of the opinion that relocating all the buses to the terminal would bring order as buses will be loaded on a first come, first serve basis.
Unlike now when buses load anywhere in town, customers will now be subjected to get into the first bus in the queue and would leave immediately once it is fully occupied.
In addition, the bus drivers would also only be required to pay a yearly allowance to allow them to operate at the terminal unlike now when bus drivers are charged for their daily operations.
Highlighting the emphasis on the need of the public transport by-law, Oshakati Town Council Chief Executive Officer Werner Iita said the by-law was necessitated to aid council in managing bus operations at the town.
With the absence of a by-law at the town, the chief executive officer said bus drivers now load and off-load anywhere in town.
“We want to bring order to the town. This is our fourth engagement with the bus drivers, the draft is in place now and we want now to have the final input and make amendments where need be,” the chief executive officer explained. The bus drivers are also divided on whether the big buses currently operating from Oshakati should also relocate to the open market.
While some drivers feel the big buses should also join the queue others felt that they would come rob them of their customers as some customers prefer the comfort availed in the big buses compared to the small buses.
Other concerns raised include losing out on existing customers and also being unable to create rapport with clients.