Taxi drivers applaud new fare as commuters cry foul


Sebongile Mathe

Maseru – The 10 percent increase in taxi fares announced towards the end of last year has been welcomed by taxi operators, particularly 4+1 taxi drivers who say they are now able to meet their daily targets faster and knock off on time. The new fares came into effect on December 1, 2023. Instead of paying M12.00, passengers are now paying M13.00 for a 10km local trip. One of the taxi drivers, Mokoteli Ntebele from Ha Abia said: “The taxi fare increase has helped us because we are able to make M100.00 in two loads. Before, we used to need four loads for the M100.00 and still have to make petrol money on the side.”  However, he said they still face the challenge of some commuters who fail to pay the M13 and plead with them to accept much less.

Mokoteli said: “Taxi owners demand higher amount of money daily and that becomes a challenge to us because some commuters don’t pay the actual price and there are other things that we need to cover at the end of the day”. Nkhasi Nkhasi, a taxi driver from Ha Pita, said: “During rainy days, there more commuters and we are able to make money and meet the taxi owners’ expectations unlike during sunny days where everyone can walk from town to where they live”.

However, commuters, already reeling under the high cost of living expressed concern over the fare increases. “The transport fare increase is unfair because there are no jobs, so how are we going to pay transport? Some are working but there’s no salary increase and that means they cannot pay such an amount every day,” said Pulane Moeta, one of the passengers from Ha Matala. She added that they would rather walk than use taxis in order to save some money.

Liteboho Mositi, a taxi driver, concurred. He said the increase has influenced more people to walk which has made their business suffer. However, Mositi said “while the business sometimes suffers the increase helped us because we make money quicker, and we are able to clock-out on time and spent time with our families”.

Polo Sejane, a passenger from Ha-Leqele said: “During the festive season, taxi drivers were refusing to accept our money if it’s not enough, but now that this is January and there is no money they are accepting M10.00 even while complaining”. Sejane concluded by said since the transport fare increase is still new there are bound to be complaints but as time goes on commuters will get used to it. So, taxi drivers need to work hand in hand with the passengers, not shout at them or complain if they can’t pay the new fare.

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