Public transport problems to worsen


Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 11:45
The usual frustration and congestions of travellers due to lack of public transport from the north to the south is expected to be compounded by the learners who will start their first school term next week.
Those who have not planned in advance may still be stranded next week, as there are no tangible alternative plans to alleviate the situation. Besides, many bus owners are capitalising on the dramatic and unfortunate situation by overcharging commuters. Some of the unscrupulous bus owners are charging as high as N$300 per person for transport to Windhoek, instead of N$190 authorised by the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta). Some desperate commu-ters are left without any choice but to pay the illegal charges, excluding their luggage. 
 Already signs of disorganised transport means have emerged since last weekend when many holidaymakers were left stranded at Oshakati and Ondangwa bus terminals. Mostly affected are travellers to Windhoek and the coastal towns of Walvis Bay, Lüderitz, and Swakopmund.
But Nabta chairman Pendapala Nakathingo said the only alternative plan so far is to encourage travellers not to wait until  next  week before they move.
“I wish to urge parents to ensure that their children are sent to school as early as possible before the envisaged congestion next week. We have also requested other public transport owners from other routes, including outside the country, to intervene but they are also unable to help us. As a result, we are appealing to all the travellers not to wait until the last minute,” Nakathingo said. 
He cautioned those charging illegal fees that they will be dealt with. In fact, some of them have already been apprehended and compelled to refund the aggrieved commu-ters.
According to Nakathingo, Nabta has started this year with a new page of restructuring itself and all public transport operational means, and facilities. This is after having gone through long-running and vicious squabbling over its leadership and status in relation to recognition by the government. He said such problems are now something of the past, hence Nabta is currently strictly focused on addressing the plight of public transport users.