TAXI operators are mulling court action for recourse over a protracted battle with the government over an increase of transport fares.
Chairperson of the Maseru Regional Taxi Operators, Mokete Jonas, told the Lesotho Times yesterday that they have decided to seek assistance from the courts.
On 4 June 2018, the government granted the transport operators an increase in fares before backtracking on the decision the following day.
The government and the taxi operators agreed on new fares which would see the fare for a ‘4+1’ taxi increase to M10 up from M6,50.
It was also agreed that the fare for a minibus should be increased to M9 from M6,50 while a bus would now charge M6,50.
The fares, which would make Lesotho the most expensive in the Southern Africa region, were expected to come into effect on 1 July this year.
However, on 5 June 2018, the Transport Minister, Prince Maliehe, wrote to the Transport Board ordering it to defer the new fares.
“I…order that implementation of the new fares be deferred until we have made further consultations with the public,” part of Mr Maliehe’s letter states.
Mokete yesterday said after the deferment three weeks ago they met again and proposed lesser fares but they were also rejected.
“We met with the deputy minister of Transport, Tšehlo Ramarou, who told us that the government refused to accept our fares as we had initially agreed.
“In our meeting we now proposed that a 4+1 would be M9, a taxi M8, a sprinter M7 and a bus M6, but even that was rejected so we have resorted to the courts,” Jonas said.
He said they have called for a meeting today with their members to pave a way forward.
“Now we are aware that the prices remain deferred as 1 July is on Sunday yet we need to communicate this to our commuters to avoid confusion.
“There is no way that we can implement the new prices as we had anticipated so we will wait for the courts to determine our fate,” Jonas said.