Transport operators, passengers fight over fares needless

One of the hallmarks of free-market economic system is fairness. It is for this reason the market is allowed to determine the prices of goods and services.

It is on this basis the country’s transport sector is allowed to fix transport fares based on the prevailing economic conditions in the country and they have done this literally over the years.

Although the transport fares they fix were generally accepted, on few occasions, passengers fought back when they think the fares are unfair.

Some of the protests turn into scuffles sometimes when fares are adjusted.

It was not different recently when due to COVID-19 fares were adjusted upwards by 30 per cent.

The explanation given for the increase was that they were complying with the health protocols that were outlined by the government to curb the spread of the disease.

Although many passengers were not happy, they grudgingly accepted the fare increase.

Fortunately, the COVID-19 restrictions in the transport sector have been eased and operators are expected to operate normally.

What this means is that, without the restrictions, they must revert to the old fares they were charging but they have not as yet done so.

This is creating needless misunderstanding between transport owners and passengers.

For us, the obvious thing for the transport operators to do is to revert to the pre-COVID-19 restrictions and charge the fares they were charging then because it is the reasonable thing to do.

Indeed, with the new social distancing protocols relaxed, fairness demands that the fares are reduced, otherwise, it would simply mean that the transport operators are fleecing passengers unnecessarily.

We remember that when the fares were increased, the transport owners quickly adjusted the fares but since Sunday when the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, we are yet to hear of any substantial decrease in transport fares.

We urge the Ministry of Transport and the unions to as a matter of urgency sit and trash out the obvious unfairness for the operators to charge fairly.

The confrontation between vehicle owners and passengers would be unnecessary if steps are not taken to iron out the differences as quickly as possible.

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