Commuter transporters justify fare increase

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COMMUTER transport operators plying the Cowdray Park route have justified their sudden increase in transport fares that caught most commuters by surprise.

LINDA CHINOBVA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The transport fares were increased from R5 to R6 without prior warning. Commuters said they only learnt of the increase after seeing posters on kombi windows just as they were about to board on their way home from work.

“Suddenly we are made to pay R6 just to get to Cowdray Park. We do not understand why fares increased without any justification as there hasn’t been a fuel hike,” Matthew Ndlovu from Cowdray Park, said.

Commuter transport operators said the sudden increase was due to various factors affecting them such as the distances they travel per trip.

“Cowdray Park is far,” Ian Mhlanga, a rank marshal, said.

“We travel about 39,2km per trip and make R90 which is not enough for fuel and to service vehicles on a daily basis.”

Mhlanga said they could not continue charging the same fares as other operators who service shorter distances because of the amount of fuel they use.

“The distance between the city centre and Barbourfields is about 4,5km and commuters pay R5 as fares, but the distance we drive is far greater than that and we surely cannot charge the same fares,” Mhlanga said.

Operators who spoke to Southern Eye said they barely make any profit by charging R5 and are faced with many expenses. They said from the R90 generated by a single trip, about $8 was spent on fuel leaving them with a profit of $1.

“Due to the R5 that commuters have been paying for the past two years, our pay has remained very low,” Mkhize Mhlanga, a driver, said.

“Our bosses expect us to cash in a certain amount every day, but we fail to meet the stated amounts and as a result we get insufficient earnings.”

Cowdray Park councillor Collet Ndlovu said: “We intend to approach the Transport ministry and request it to provide us with buses that will serve the residents. That way, we will be able to ban commuter omnibuses.”

Oscar Sibanda, a commuter operator said tomorrow the commuter omnibus operators will meet at 3pm to discuss the issue at hand and dertemine the way forward.