Taxi fare could increase to N$13

Home Featured Taxi fare could increase to N$13

WINDHOEK – The Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) plan a national demonstration in March in support of the demand to raise the taxi fare by N$4.

The other demand is that the wages of taxi drivers be increased from 30 to 40 percent of the total income they generate from taxi fares on a monthly basis.

If NTTU succeeds in its demands commuters will have to fork out N$13 for a one-way trip from the current N$9 per trip, which doubles to N$18 in undesignated areas. The NTTU also wants the current road traffic fines to be unconditionally withdrawn and cancelled as they erode their profit margins and they are apparently unreasonable and deprive members and drivers of their “dignity, social and civic justice.” “It has also been resolved to request and make a strong call going out to government to pay back some monies, if not all the money, of fines issued during the exercise of these high fines,” according to the NTTU. The union further wants all drivers arrested for various traffic offences to be pardoned and for traffic violations to be decriminalized.

The NTTU also wants the Windhoek City Police Chief Abraham Kanime and other high-ranking officers to apologise for the apparent harassment of its members. The union further calls on the Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina to retract his statement that the Namibia Bust and Taxi Association (Nabta) is the only recognised taxi association to regulate and deal with the public transport sector.  The Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA) has since taken the Minister of Works to court over the ministry’s decision and the case is slated to be heard on January 31. The union also demands representation on the boards of government institutions, such as the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA), the Roads Authority (RA) and municipal councils, and the right to represent its members in labour matters.

It also wants to be included in regional and local government boards and town councils to advise on appropriate demarcation of taxi ranks and loading zones. Going even further the union wants a representative in the National Assembly to “advise central government on servicing the transport industry.”

The NTTU suggests that government put measures in place to enable the union to control drivers and to introduce a basic course for drivers. “It is against all the above that we are urging all drivers to aprticipare in the strike that nobody will forget soon,” a statement from the union reads. But Nabta president Vespa Muunda distanced his association from the intended rise in fares and the protest action. “Maybe they (NTTU) know how they calculated (the fare increase) to come up with that amount,” he said, adding that they do not wish to interfere with the union’s decision. He said taxi drivers should also understand that their clients are not as well off and therefore need to balance the fares.

NPPT secretary general, Nathan Africa says he has heard about the NTTU wanting to increase taxi fares, but since his association is still busy with the recognition issue and a court case this week, they will first focus on that.

“We have to be careful with price (fare) increases. We must first see what’s viable for increment,” he said, adding that other stakeholders such as taxi permit holders and the public needs to be consulted before any increase is announced.


By Magreth Nunuhe