Despite government through the energy regulator, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) reducing fuel prices for two consecutive times, it has been observed that minibus operators have not reduced bus fares, a development which has worried most commuters.
During a snap survey Nyasa Times conducted in the streets of Blantyre, it has been revealed that minibus operators are still charging hiked tariffs they effected early in April after they were ordered to reduce minibus capacity to two passengers per seat as a means of preventing the spread of corona virus pandemic.
Government through MERA announced a reduction in petrol price from K930 to K780 and further to K690.50 in the month of April and May respectively.
The price of diesel was also revised downwards from K887 to K765 and further to K664.80
in the month of April and may respectively with an expectation that the transport sector will respond accordingly.
However a snap survey conducted in Blantyre has revealed that minibus fare from Limbe to Blantyre remains K500 from its initial K300 before the new sitting capacity.
In routs outside Blantyre it been revealed that minibus fares were adjusted from K2500 to K4000 from Limbe to Chikwawa while fares from Limbe to Nsanje rose from K4000 to K7500 which still remains the same according to minibus drivers interviewed in Limbe bus depot.
The minibus operators also adjusted fares from Blantyre to Mangochi from K5000 to K7000 and from K3000 to K5000 from Limbe to Phalombe
Asked to explain why minibus fares are not being reduced in line with fuel reduction, Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (MOAM) National Chairperson Felix Mbonekera Msisya was none committal when called for an interview suggesting to be called latter but could not pick calls latter despite several attempts.
However MOAM spokesperson for the Southern region Harrison Yekesi said the association is finding it difficult to intervene on minibus bus fares as they were ordered by government last year through the Centre for Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) to stop fixing minibus fares allowing individual minibus operators to start coming up with their own prices.
On his part Passengers Welfare Association of Malawi (PAWA) President Don Napuwa has blamed government for not consulting them before coming up with an order to reduce minibus sitting capacity a development he said has given room for minibus operators to be increasing bus fares at their own desecration.
“You see government created this problem by reducing passengers capacity without first consulting us, we know the tendency of minibus operators ,it is always difficult for them to reduce fares once they increase them, we leave it up to government to sought out this problem otherwise it is ordinary passengers who are feeling the pinch ‘, said Napuwa.
However Ministry of Transport through its spokes person James Chakwera upon being interviewed on phone said he expects the minibus operators to reduce bus fares own their own without being pushed immediately fuel prices are adjusted.
He further said government is yet to engage minibus operators in order for them to reduce their prices.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :