If you live in Botswana you’ll be well aware of the wildly varying taxi fares that are squeezed out of us on a daily basis! Countless taxi operators blatantly flout government guidelines and charge whatever they deem fit, with many charging extortionately hefty fares beyond what’s legal.
It’s worse for you if they notice you aren’t aware of the set fares, or if you’re not a local. Although most of us are aware of the fares, we simply don’t argue and continue to feed the monster, so to speak; because otherwise you won’t be going anywhere fast. So brazen are some of these taxi drivers that they’ll drop you like the proverbial hot potato if you insist on paying anything less than that what they are asking, let alone P21!
But this week the Department of Road Transport and Safety issued a letter to highlight the fares and what to do where you’re over-charged. Please see the notice below:
The Department of Road Transport and Safety would like to inform the general public that the Government gazetted transport fares of 2012 are still applicable. A shared taxi is P4.10 and special is P21.00 as per December 2012 public transport fares.
It has come to our attention that some taxi operators charge customers P40.00 special. The Department wishes to request the public to report any operator/employee of public service vehicles who fail to comply with the prescribed fares.
For more or any information please contact Public Relations Office on 3688600.
As commendable as this is, I still think the department could do much more to stop taxi operators exploiting people. For instance, they could conduct regular but random ‘mystery shop’ operations, to see what exactly people are faced with. Additionally, I feel they could make these fares a lot more visible. They could put up bold, larger than life billboards at the bus rank and station, publishing the fares. That way nobody would be left in any doubt as to the exact fares, like it is currently the case.
It’s all very well saying people should report ‘offenders’ to the relevant authorities; because it’s not as easy as they make it sound. Some people, including me, have neither the bottle nor the heart to do so. Silly, but true.
What’s your take on this situation? Do you think the Department of Road Transport and Safety could do more to control taxi fares? What would you like to see done to curb the existent situation? Please share your views with YourBotswana.
Picture credit: “Taxi” By Petar Milošević / Newspaper article: Daily News / Station Taxis by Motlalepula Chika