The Botswana Bus Operators Association (BBOA) intends to meet with the government on Friday this week over its demand for fares to be increased before the end of the year. This comes after fuel prices were increased three times this year.
The Chairman of BBOA, Tirafalo Mponang, told The Botswana Gazette in an interview that fares were last increased in September last year and that talks with the government have so far borne no fruit.
“Prices of commodities have gone up, especially fuel,” Mponang said. “Fuel prices went up twice after our 1st September 2020 fare adjustment and then there was an increase on VAT. The sad thing is that whenever there is a fuel price increase, we pass the burden on to commuters.”
“It is also an issue is that there is a huge disparity between taxi and combi fares. Our intention is to make a proposal for the government to consider. We want to outline all factors that need to be considered before a decision is taken.”
He pointed out that night time buses have not been operating for 18 months, saying the time has come for the public transport sector to recover. “We do not want a situation where public transport cannot operate,” Mponang emphasized.
Meanwhile, a snap voice pop carried out by The Gazette found resistance to transport fares going up among commuters in Gaborone.
Lebogang Setsile said they are also trying to recover from COVID-19 setbacks as commuters. “I do understand that they need money to fuel up their vehicles but we are also struggling,” Setsile said.
Similarly, Keitumetse Wamorena said commuters are feeling the pinch of COVID-19 containment measures and last year’s increased transport fares.
“Things are so tough that I ended up selling my car because I was struggling financially,” Wamorena added. “Raising transport fares would reverse the little recovery that we are beginning to make.”