MASERU (TMGLive) – The minister of Transport, Prince Maliehe yesterday announced the new taxi fare increases to take effect as of August 1. The fare hikes will see commuters pay M7.50 for the mini-buses and M8.00 for the taxi cab (4+1).
On June 4 2018, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Prince Maliehe granted the transport operators an increase in taxi fares before backtracking on the decision the following day. Mr. Maliehe wrote to the Transport Board ordering it to defer the new fares, saying they needed to consult the public before the new charges could be implemented.
In his short letter, Maliehe said: “As the minister in charge of transport matters in the country, having heard the public outcry on the increment of public transport fares, I make the order that implementation of the new fares be deferred until we have made further consultations with the public.”
The government and the taxi operators had agreed that the new fare for a ‘4+1’ taxi would increase to M10 up from M6.50. It was also agreed that the fare for a minibus should be increased to M9 from M6.50 while a bus would now charge M6.50. Those fares were expected to come into effect on July 1 this year.
While announcing the new fares yesterday, Mr. Maliehe said that after hearing the public’s outcry in June, the ministry had to go back to the drawing board together with the taxi operators. “We had a two-week meeting over a disagreement of 50c and as the Minister of Transport with the powers bestowed upon me, I had to take action hence the announcement today,” Maliehe stated.
Maliehe further stated that, “there was mistake which occurred when announcing the fares in June, because the Transport Board had increased the fares and added an additional 10% as a compensation for the delay of the reviewing of taxi fares in the past five years, that should never have happened.’’ Besides the 4+1 and minibus hikes for shorter distances, the fares for longer distances in the lowlands and the highlands have also been increased.
Among others, it will cost M227.70 for a 345km trip from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek in a minibus and M162 when using a bus. The Transport Board Chairperson, Tšehlo Khoanyane said these were the final fares set for public transport.
The increase comes after the High Court recently said the Ministry can go ahead with the announcement of the new fares after the Taxi Operators had filed an urgent application saying the court should order the Ministry not to announce the new fares until the case was finalized.
Efforts to get comment from the Maseru Region Taxi Operators were fruitless by the time of going to print last night.