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Transport fares up

Staff Writer
The Department of Road Transport and Safety has announced an increase in public transport fares with effect from September 1. This development falls on top of the two percent Value Added Tax adjustment earlier this year.

The fares increased again following a price adjustment in 2008 when there was a reduction due to stabilised fuel prices.

A shared taxi will go up from P3.20 per person to P3.50.

The 'special' fare will be P17.60 per trip from P16.00. Minibuses, commonly known as 'combis', will charge each person P3 per trip, a 30 thebe increase from P2.70. A long distance trip on a bitumen road will cost 18.55 per kilometre from 16.86 and a long distance bus trip on a gravel or sandy road will be P20.52 per kilometre from P18.65 thebe.

A statement from the Department of Road and Safety announces that the increase in fares is intended to ensure the financial viability and sustainability of the public transport industry in the country.

Asked for clarity on the statement, deputy director, Orapeleng Mosigi, cited unstable fuel prices. "Above all," he said, "the current status of public transport as a business is not profitable, which inhibits efficiency and effectiveness of the service". "The sector has to run as a fully-fledged and

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profitable business so that it can procure roadworthy transport with consumer safety at heart and effective service provision," Mosigi said.

He added that the ultimate plan is to establish an effective road transport system to reduce congested roads and ensure timely service. 

However, head of the Gaborone Taxi and Local Bus Association, Thatayaone Mongweotsile, lamented that the adjustment is close to nothing.

He said short distance transport operators continue to incur losses. He said it is just a drop in the ocean. "Our break even point is P3.80. We needed something above that to say we are a business making profit," he said. Mongweotsile said that breaking even means gains equal losses.

He added that the lack of effectiveness of the local transport industry is a manifestation of lack of profitability. He concluded that though the price adjustment does not meet their proposed P3.80 plus, they will continue serving the people because they are aware of the current financial climate, the absence of salary increase in two years and the two percent VAT increment.



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