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Government under pressure, as minibus operators continue protests

Reports reaching Capital FM suggest that the government has bowed down to a demand by minibus operators over lawful passenger capacity.

Earlier, hundreds of commuters in the country’s cities and towns had little option but to walk to their various destinations following a decision by the minibus operators to withdraw their services.

In a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the government ordered all minibus operators to observe a 2-passenger-per-seat restriction at all times.

However, the uncompromising operators pressed the authorities to review the ceiling considering a fuel pump-price increase last December.

Speaking to Capital FM a short while ago, Minibus Drivers and Conductors Association spokesperson Evans Galasi confirmed receiving a call from Road Traffic authorities allowing them to carry three passengers per seat.

“I have just received a call from Lilongwe, they said even today we can start taking 3 passengers per row, so tomorrow we are going to do that,” said Galasi.

He further called on the other rioting minibus drivers and conductors to get off the streets and go home, awaiting to resume operations tomorrow.

Galasi, has however not specified who exactly gave him the communication from the directorate.

In a letter dated 20 January, the minibus drivers and operators insisted they will not resume their services unless the authorities reduce fuel prices or allow 3 passengers per seat provided they wear their masks.

Surprisingly, contrary to the spirit and principles of free market; the minibus operators have also blocking big buses, communal taxis and motorcyclist from ferrying any passengers to various destinations in their protests today.

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