05 Nov 2013 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 NOV (NAMPA) - The City of Windhoek will buy new public buses to replace its ailing fleet in order to provide efficient transportation services to its residents, the City of Windhoek's Strategic Executive of Community Services Department, Muyiwa Mayumbelo said on Tuesday.
Mayumbelo announced this during the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Public Hearings on a petition by the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) to the National Assembly (NA).
The union on 25 July 2013 submitted a petition to the NA, from where the petition was referred to the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs on 03 October 2013 for further action.
The NTTU provisionally called off a countrywide taxi strike in July this year when the unions leadership was called to meet with the Standing Committee.
In the petition, the NNTU expressed, among other concerns, that should the Windhoek Municipality proceed with its intention to acquire a fleet of mini-buses, it could negatively affect the taxi industry and lead to possible loss of employment.
Mayumbelo dismissed the allegation, saying the municipality intends to acquire big buses to replace its current fleet and not mini-buses.
We are not making profit from public buses, we are just providing services to the towns needy residents, he said, indicating that most of the people who are using public buses are low-income earners.
Poor people use a quarter of their salaries on transport every month, he explained further.
In addition, Mayumbelo said the City currently has 79 buses, of which most are more than 30 years old and break down a lot.
It cost a lot of money from the City of Windhoek to repair the old buses, he said, adding that N.dollars 40 million is provided in the current budget for the project.
The taxi industry also expressed concern over inadequate provision of taxi ranks and loading zones for commuters.
In his reply, Mayumbelo indicated that the City of Windhoek has identified 301 taxi ranks and loading zones in town.
It will cost the City approximately N.dollars 40 000 to extend, rework and redesign roads to suit the purpose of loading zones or taxi stops.
A member of the Standing Committee, Arnold Tjihuiko asked why there are no taxi ranks near buildings such as the Game shopping complex, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Fruits and Veg shops along Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue in town.
In response, Erwin Kamundu, City of Windhoek's head of passenger transport department, explained that some of those buildings have been in existence since before Independence, and there is no space to establish taxi ranks now.
But, he said, some places are close to taxi ranks, and the only issue is that commuters do not want to walk even 70 metres to a taxi rank.