Full steam ahead for buses, taxis

No official word from government

08 July 2020 | Transport

General secretary of the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) Pendapala Nakathingo said public passenger transport, especially taxis and long-distance buses, can start loading passengers at full capacity while government sorts out technical modalities.
Nakathingo said restrictions on public passenger transport applied by government when Covid-19 broke out, ended in stage three of the state of emergency.
In May, the Road Transportation Board of Namibia under the Ministry of Works and Transport in collaboration NABTA, directed that all taxis and buses should only fill vehicles at half of its loading capacity in order to observe social distancing. During that time, government also approved a 15% bus and taxi fare increase, which was valid during stage three.
Nakathingo said he is still waiting for official communication from the transport ministry to allow taxis and buses to go back to the normal loading and charging of the usual transport fees, but at the same time, he is engaging the health ministry to discuss modalities that should be used to ensure health regulations are adhered to.
“We are not consulted. We are still waiting for something in black and white. I am not blaming anyone nor complaining, but this thing needs proper consultations,” Nakathingo said.
On Monday, Attorney General (AG) Festus Mbandeka told Nampa at State House that restrictions on public passenger transport are now relaxed, but the wearing of face masks and hand sanitising should continue.
Road Transportation Board chairperson Browny Mutrifa on Tuesday said he is not aware of restrictions being relaxed and he was surprised to see the AG announcing it on television, and also that the transportation board did not receive an official letter from the justice ministry, that is supposed to implement regulations.
Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab said the ministry is only responsible for providing regulations that every sector or ministry should adhere to, but not to issue guidelines for individual sectors. – Nampa

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