REHOBOTH residents who work in the capital city are up in arms over the increased monthly payment of transportation between the town and Windhoek.
Minibus drivers, who usually charge N$ 1,400 per month to transport workers to and from Rehoboth convened a meeting last weekend where a decision was made to increase the fair by N$ 600.
A total N$1,000 is expected to be paid upfront and another N$ 1,000 by the end of each month.
Nadine Benz, a commuter between Rehoboth and Windhoek, expressed concern over the increment, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has burned a hole in many people’s pockets and the increase in transport fees during a time like this will further financially burden many.
“I am very disappointed because I too am affected and I work on commission. As a single mother, I have children at home who have to be fed. The fact that schools have closed means I had to look for someone to look and care for my children and this person also needs to be paid. I didn’t budget for that extra N$ 600. Now we are cornered because for these bus drivers it’s just business. It’s either you want or you don’t want, so we don’t have a choice. I don’t understand how the prices have gone up when fuel prices we f down,”Benz said.
Meanwhile, the President of the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU), Werner Januarie, said that nothing can be done by the union about the price hikes due to the fact that no consultations were held between government and the union regarding on how the transportation industry can survive during the state of emergency regarding COVID-19.
According to Januarie, it is not only the Rehoboth bus drivers who have increased their prices, but that long distance drivers countrywide have also done the same.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak and the state of emergency declaration thereof, our industry leaders have not been consulted by regulation makers and we were not properly informed about the limiting of customers. The operators are making huge loses. There is no further talks on whether or not we will be covered in a stimulus package. Had there been consultations, we would have known how to properly address our colleagues on the matter but as it is, we will not discourage or encourage operators to do what they are doing. We should have been made to understand what it is that we need to tell our colleagues. The situation is entirely out of our hands and it lies solely with the individual. What we can do, however, is stand by the social distancing regulations that have been set up, “Januarie said.