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Confusion reigns over the new reduced bus fares as stakeholders disagree

The Bus and Taxi Owners Association of Zambia has rejected the newly announced reduced fares by the Road Transport and Safety Agency(RTSA) saying the fixed bus and taxi charges were not agreed upon.

Bus And Taxi Owners Association National Chairman Sydney Chewe has described the reduction figures as excessive and not discussed or tabled in a consultative meeting held on Tuesday, 2nd august 2022.

Mr. Chewe is of the view that the approach taken by RTSA to fix bus and taxi fares is contrary to the principles of a liberalized economy and the provisions of the road traffic act no 11 of 2002.

RTSA yesterday announced a reduction in bus fares, following the drop in fuel pump price by 14 percent for intercity routes, K5 for copperbelt and Lusaka local and other towns K5, and K7 for copperbelt and Lusaka inter-mine/peri-urban routes effective today Sunday 7 August, 2022.

But the Bus and Taxi Owners Association argues that the last adjustment only saw an upward change of K1.50 for local routes, K3 for intermine/peri urban and 10 percent for intercity routes with the new RTSA fixed reduction in excess and beyond the last fare adjustment for July which was instigated by a 6.81% increase in the price of diesel as compared to a price reduction of 3.4%.

Association National Chairman Sydney Chewe adds that the fares RTSA has fixed will progressively erode the business viability and the effect in long-term will be the collapse of the public passenger transport sector, thus throwing of a lot of subsistence operators into unemployment and poverty.

However, the Commuter Rights Association of Zambia (CRAZ) has said that reduced bus fares are fair. Association President, Aron Kamuti has said that there is no justification for other stakeholders to assume that the decision to reduce the fares is unilateral.

Mr. Kamuti told ZNBC News in an interview that the new fares correspond with the reduction in fuel prices by the Energy Regulation Board -ERB.

National Chairperson, SYDNEY CHEWE says the fares do not reflect what was proposed in the stakeholders’ meeting held last week.

Mr. CHEWE says the Association has written to RTSA asking for another stakeholder meeting because the fares are not representing their concerns.

However, RTSA Head of Public Relations Fredrick Mubanga says the Agency has not yet received any correspondence from the Association.

Yesterday, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) had announced the reduced bus fares for local and long-distance routes.

RTSA Head Public Relations Fredrick Mubanga said that local routes fares had been reduced by 5 kwacha and Long distance routes by 14 percent.

Mr Mubanga however said that the bus fares for Inter-Mine and Peri-Urban areas in Lusaka and the Copperbelt have been reduced by 7 kwacha, adding that the bus fares are supposed to take effect today

Mr Mubang says the new bus fares take effect tomorrow and has urged bus operators to revise the bus fare charts and display them in all the buses accordingly.

The reduction in fares follows the drop in fuel pump prices by 3-kwacha 56 ngwee per litre for petrol and 3-kwacha 14-ngwee per litre for diesel that were announced by the Energy Regulation Board on Monday.