• A number of routes are challenged because of a number of factors on the ground,
• These routes are exposed to unfair business due to illegal bus stations and pirate taxis in the Central Business District.
• Kanyama has been charging K5 for a very long time.
Public Passenger Transport Drivers Association of Zambia says there will be no reduction in bus fares for routes such as Kanyama, 10 miles, Matero, Sekelela, Chunga, and Chipata-Mandevu despite decline in diesel pump price.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Association National Secretary Sydney Mbewe said this is because the aforementioned routes are exposed to unfair business due to illegal bus stations and pirate taxis in the Central Business District.
Mr. Mbewe explained that these routes have been charging between K5 and K10 for a very long time, hence they cannot increase the fares owing to the fact that the pirate taxis and illegal bus stations are charging low fares and are getting the bigger chunk of the business.
“A number of routes are challenged because of a number of factors on the ground, one of them being the illegal bus stations in the Central Business District. We are not able to increase the fares so that they can just maintain a fare of the commuters. If you look at routes like Kanyama, Kanyama has been charging K5 for a very long time when the fares are up by K12, Matero has been charging K10 when the fares are somewhere around K16, Sekelela has been charging K20 for a very long time when the fares are somewhere around K32.”
“This also goes for routes like 10 miles, Chipata-Mandevu, Chunga and all these routes are exposed to unfair business and hence they cannot increase the fares because on the road, the pirate taxis and the illegal bus stations are charging low fares and they are getting the bigger chunk of the business,” Mr. Mbewe noted.
He added that in as much as there will be bus fare reductions on some routes, fares for Kanyama, 10 miles, Matero, Sekelela, Chunga, and Chipata-Mandevu will not reduce as they are still operating within the stipulated fares.
“So in as much as we are going to see reductions on some routes, we are not going to see reductions on the routes I have mentioned because they are still operating within the stipulated fares that were given in the last review by Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA),” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mbewe said reduction in the price of diesel by K1.64 ngwee per litre is a positive move for buses that use low Sulphur diesel but a disadvantage for operators that use Petrol for propulsion.
“We have received the new reduction in pump price of fuel with mixed joy in that in the public transport sector we have hybrid use of fuel. We have buses that are using diesel who will be smiling right now and there are buses that are using petrol for propulsion.”
“Now when we consider fares, we do not consider what vehicle is being propelled by which fuel. So while on the one side we may have a benefit, we are not seeing this benefit coming to the other side of the operators that are using petrol for propelling their buses,” Mr. Mbewe said.
He noted that it was good that government is keeping up its commitment to look at factors that they said were contributing to the increasing pricing of fuel, one of them being the numerous middlemen in the procurement of fuel and the United States dollar in relation to Zambian Kwacha.
“We have seen that the Kwacha is faring quite well on the market, and also if the number of middlemen has been removed then they are taking note that the fuel price though it has gone up, it’s coming down and we hope this will be a sustainable development that will keep fuel prices reducing,” he stated.
On Sunday, Energy Regulation Board (ERB) reduced pump prices of low Sulphur diesel and kerosene by K1.64 ngwee and K1.82 ngwee per litre respectively, while the price of petrol was maintained at K27.59 ngwee.