Bus operators threaten to cancel free transport scheme

12 years, 5 months ago - 2 December 2010
Some 800 bus operators across the island, who are regrouped under the Mauritius Bus Owners Co-operative Federation (MBOCF), are arguing because of their non-renewed contracts, they say that it would be better for them to start charge a fee from students and elderly people.

According to the secretary general of MBOCF - Sunil Jeenarain, there are numerous problems for bus operators to get loan for the renewal of their vehicle fleet as their contracts are not in order.

“We have sent a letter to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for an urgent meeting. But our request has been ignored,” said Jeenarain.

The MBOCF has decided to hold a general meeting in mid-December at Saint Pierre.

The private bus operators are also irritated over the fact that they are have no allowance to the Rs 330 per day for each bus and the sum of Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per day when they grant breakdown services to another bus operator.

“The association is suggesting that those involved in repair services should qualify for this benefit,” said Jeenarain.

He recalled that since 2009, a verbal agreement was reached between the government and the co-operative societies.

“We agreed to work together despite the fact that nothing was put down on paper. We are not relying on the recommendations of a government institution according to which a revision of bus fares should be held every two years,” said Jeenarain.

Also he noted that bus operators receive an allowance covering only 180 days of school. Besides that the MBOCF believes that the budget does not propose concrete actions to support bus operators to renew their fleet of vehicles. “We were hoping that the minister of Finance would withdraw the value added tax (VAT) on the purchase of new buses,” said Jeenarain.