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YAS calls for dialogue between Government, Minibus operators

Youth and Society is pushing the government to engage disgruntled Minibus operators on the concerns over the balance of capacity and bus fares.

Scores of Blantyre city’s residents were on Monday morning forced to walk to their respective work and business places following protests that were staged by minibus operators.

Uncompromising roughnecks in various townships of the commercial capital blocked all passenger vehicles from ferrying commuters to various destinations.

The protesting operators also denied private vehicles passage in some townships and manhandled some drivers that were found to be ferrying passengers.

The development affected economic activity as some people failed, while others reported late for duties.

They were trying to press authorities to let minibus operators to increase passenger capacity from the current two to three per seat in reaction to last week’s 20% fuel price hike.

The operators believe raising fares at this time would not only be awkward but also be bad for business.

In most cases when there is a fuel price hike, bus fares rise.

Commenting on the matter YAS Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka has stressed that there is need for the government to engage the disgruntled operators describing their concerns as justifiable.

“What is important is that the minibus operators have sent a massage to government and the leadership needs to pay attention to the massage. We do not expect running battles between the police and the minibus operators but that there must be dialogue between government and the concerned parties and that’s the direction we must be encouraging, “Said Kajoloweka.

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Although the YAS leader feels the reasons for the outrage are genuine, he went on to street the need to remember that the Coronavirus Pandemic is still there, hence a need for dialogue.

“We know that the reduction in capacity of minibus was in the context of COVID, and when we are looking at the cases again beginning to surge perhaps it also raises a health risk if we go back to the earlier capacity of the minibuses,”Kajoloweka added.

By midday, business started returning to normal slowly in the city following sporadic resumption of public commuter service operations.

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