Minibus operators in Lilongwe have threatened to hike minibus fares for various routes in the city in reaction to traffic police strict application of regulations especially the one which regulates bus carrying capacity.
Traffic police have in recent times increased their presence on the roads in Lilongwe making it difficult for the drivers to break the prescribed passenger carrying capacity rule for different minibuses.
Most operators have been disregarding the prescribed three passengers per seat rule and instead have been carrying four passengers per seat in Lilongwe.
“The traffic police officers are everywhere and it is affecting our business. We have no choice, but to hike the fares from next week”, complained one bus driver.
Minibus Owners Association of Malawi member, Manuel Thayo said the drivers were not representing the views of the association.
He assured the public transport commuters that the association has no intentions of hiking the bus fares.
“The law is clear. They are supposed to be carrying three passengers per seat not four and they are aware of that,” Thayo said.
Lilongwe Police Public Relations Officer Kingsley Dandaula played down the sentiments of the operators saying the law has always been there.
“The minibus operators have been going against this regulation for some time now and in recent time we have increased our presence around on the city’s roads to ensure that road traffic regulations are strictly adhered to in order to protect life and property.
“The minibus owners have an association and they are aware of the laws and I don’t think the drivers can effect the price increases without the endorsement of the association,” he said.