Minibus owners confess unfair charging

By Sara Mlozoa

The Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (MOAM) has conceded that minibus operators are charging unreasonable bus fares and failing to comply with road traffic regulations.

This follows a market surveillance and a price monitoring exercise jointly carried out by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) which showed that despite two consecutive downward fuel price adjustments, bus fares had increased by unreasonably high margins ranging from 40% to 200%.

MOAM chairperson, Felix Mbonekera, said the association has now instructed the drivers to reduce the prices and follow all the regulations.

Mbonekera said: “We have instructed the minibus operators through their drivers to reduce the fares and always display the prices so that customers are able to see the amount for their destination.”

However, he disclosed that MOAM has been holding discussions with the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS), Ministry of Transport and CFTC on the matter.

According to a joint market surveillance and a price monitoring exercise by Ministry of Transport and CFTC, transport operators have been taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic to exploit passengers by charging excessive and unreasonable bus fares.

Further, the joint market surveillance revealed that owners of minibuses and buses were not complying with Road Traffic Regulations which require bus operators to display fare-tables for the route as stipulated by regulation 10(2) of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Operations) of 2000.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Transport and CFTC have appealed to the general public to report all minibuses and bus operators who fail to display or supply them with bus fare-tables and charging fares.

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