Namibia hikes public transport fares by 15 percent due to Covid-19
Rustenburg - Public transport fares in Namibia have increased by 15 percent to cushion the income of operators in the face of Covid-19 restrictions limiting passenger numbers, local media reported on Tuesday.
The Namibian daily newspaper said the transport ministry endorsed the fare rise for taxis and buses.
It said the public transport sector, represented by the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association, the Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association and Bridge Cross, had requested fare increases of 10 percent, 12 percent and 33 percent respectively.
Buses and taxis are currently allowed to load only 50 percent of their capacity in terms of Covid-19 state of emergency regulations that require physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Just 16 people in Namibia -- one of the lowest national numbers globally -- have been infected so far with the virus which has spread rapidly around the world since first emerging in China late last year.
According to the country's Covid-19 directives, a 16-seater minibus is only allowed to carry 10 passengers, while 22 and 28-seaters are allowed 14 passengers. A sedan car can only have three passengers and a seven-seater can carry four.
The Namibian newspaper quoted the chairperson of the Road and Transportation Board, Browny Mutrifa, as saying the price increase would be temporary until the public transport situation normalised.
Mutrifa said the idea was to cushion bus and taxi operators against financial losses which would negatively affect the provision of public transport to residents and visitors to Namibia.
Of the 16 Covid-19 infections recorded so far in the southern African country, 11 people have since regained their health. No deaths have occurred in relation to the coronavirus.
The state owned New Era daily newspaper reported last week that fares had been hiked across the country as long distance bus operators implemented government’s physical distancing order.
Passengers travelling from the north and northeastern regions to the capital Windhoek were being charged N$500 (about R615) for a one-way ticket, from between N$300 and N$400.
African News Agency (ANA)