MASERU – Public transport operators are threatening to go on strike on April 20, accusing government of failing to implement an increase in taxi fares after imploring the transport ministry and the Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu to attend to their plight. Public transport operators began demanding a 10 percent fare increment on September 1 last year, with Maseru Regional Taxi Operators (MRTO) chairperson, Mokete Jonas, saying the increase was necessitated by increases in fuel price.
Jonas argued that regular price hikes affected the industry incalculably because the government had ignored increasing fares in line with inflation and periodic hikes for a long time.
The sector also, among other demands, wanted for the ministry, to grant them a one year drivers’ fitness guarantee instead of the six months that are currently being given.
At a recent media conference held at the Maseru Region Transport Operators (MRTO) offices in Maseru, the sector stressed that the Minister of Transport has disregarded their request for fare hike. The sector had given the ministry seven days to respond to their plea “but the response we receive was not satisfactory enough.”
“Today we had a meeting with transport owners from Teyateyaneng, Thaba-Tseka and Maseru to seek their buy-in into the mulled national strike. On April 6 we will be in Botha-Bothe to meet with transport owners from Mokhotlong and Leribe together with those in the district.
“On April 13 we will be in Quthing to meet with Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Qacha’s Nek. Our aim is to give them our plan to see if they approve it,” said Mokete Jonas, chairperson of national public transport sector.
On April 20, Jonas said all public transport vehicles will be parked as part of the planned strike.