The Ministry of Transport and Public Works, and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission ( CFTC) will from Monday, 16th June, 2020 conduct enhanced joint enforcement and surveillance activities on all routes for minibus and bus owners.
The joint enforcement will be carried out by the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services ( DRTSS) and the CFTC with the purpose of enforcing compliance for Minibus and Bus owners to follow the Road Traffic Regulations, the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
The Ministry and the Commission is appealing to the general public to report all Minibus and Bus operators who do not display or supply them with bus fare – table and are charging extensively.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga and CFTC Executive Director, James Kaphale dated 10th June, 2020.
In the statement, the Ministry and the Commission says they have noted with great concern that a number of Minibuses and Buses are taking advantage of the global Covid-19 pandemic to exploit passengers by charging excessive and unreasonable bus fares.
A statement says a market surveillance and price monitoring exercise jointly carried out by the Ministry and the Commission, showed that despite two consecutive downward fuel price adjustments, bus fares had increased by unreasonably high margins ranging from 40% to 200% saying the owners of Minibuses and Buses are not complying with Road Traffic Regulations which require bus operators to display fare – tables or fare- charts.
It says by charging excessively despite the substantial fuel price reductions, bus operators are in serious breach of section 43 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act saying the Ministry and the Commission took into account prevailing fares by the same bus operators prior to the Covid-19 outbreak as a benchmark fares.
A statement says after wide stakeholders consultations involving the Public Transport Association, Minibus Owners Association of Malawi, Passenger Welfare Association and Malawi Police Service, the Ministry and the Commission determined that any bus fare increase by a margin of more than 40% constituted excessive pricing in blatant violation of the Competition and Fair Trading Act.
“No person shall cause or permit a bus to be used on a road unless the conductor or where there is no conductor, the driver has available a fare – table for the route on which such bus is operating,”reads a statement in part.
The Ministry and the Commission further says the resolutions stipulate that fare- tables shall be produced on request to any person reasonably requiring to examine such fare- tables.