Users of public transport wonder why the price of transport is still at the same price while the fuel price has been reduced. The problem is that there is no consultation between those who are concerned.–By Yves Didier Irakoze
“I heard on the radio that the price of fuel has been reduced and that we are going to pay BIF340 for a bus ride in Bujumburacompared to the previous BIF350, but things have not changed. We still pay BIF350. I don’t know why?” says Didier Irakiza, met at the bus operating in town.
Carole Niyonizigiye, another bus passenger, says that she doesn’t know what is happening. “Today, we pay these fees, tomorrow the price changes and we don’t know what has happened and what is going on.“
According to Bosco Minani, Chairman of the Association of Drivers in Burundi (ATRABU), they respect the price of BIF340 which wasproposed by the government. However, says Minani, sometimes clients who pay BIF350 do not have the time or patience to wait for the bus conductor to find the BIF10 change. “In fact, when the transport fees were BIF320, there were cases where customers paid BIF300 and we had to lose the BIF20”, says Minani.
He indicates that when the price of transport is fixed, the drivers of public transport and the association are not consulted by the government so that one price,including public transport in the countryside, can be agreed on.
He mentions that the domain of common transport is somehow chaotic because everyone wants to do everything their own way, like fixing the price according to their own wishes. The Ministry of Transport and Trade doesn’t consult the drivers or the car owners, and when the price is fixed, no one is there to see whether or not the price is respected.
“We need to work in synergy, to agree on the transport fees for public transport, including public transport operating in the countryside, and to set up a commission that follows up if what have been agreed between the concerned parties – the road police security, the ministry of trade, the ministry of transport, the drivers as well as the association of consumers – is respected. We also realized that during Christmas and New Year periods those who travel to the countryside see that the transport fees increase immediately during those days. If we could sit together and agree on one price and if there were a commission to control that the agreement is respected, things could improve”, says the Chairman.
Pierre Nduwayo, Spokesman of Burundian Consumers Association (ABUCO), shares his opinion. He mentions that when the government decided to fix the price, ABUCO was not consulted as they always were previously.
However, the Spokesman admits that actions means haven’t been great. It’s better if we can sit together and talk and review the price because it has been agreed without us and they didn’t take the reality of the life of Burundian people nowadays into account,Nduwayo finishes.
IWACU tried to approach the authorities of the Ministry of Trade, however they were not available for an interview.