The Namibia Consumer Protection Group (NCPG) has taken note of the continued loss of lives on our roads and wishes to propose a Passenger Charter for Road Transport in Namibia. The following core rights must be applicable to all regular services, irrespective of the distance of the service provided:
• non-discriminatory transport conditions,
• access to transport for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at no additional cost and the financial compensation for the loss or damage of their mobility equipment,
• minimum rules on travel information for all passengers before and during their journey as well as general information about their rights; and
• a complaint handling mechanism by carriers available to all passengers.
If the distance travelled is 250 km or more (long-distance services) we propose:
• passengers be given a ticket (printed or cellphone message) proving their entitlement to transport,
• compensation and assistance in case of death, injury, loss or damage caused by accidents,
• information when the service is cancelled or delayed in departure,
• right of reimbursement of the full ticket price or rerouting in case of cancellation or long delay,
• adequate assistance in case of cancelation or long delay (only applicable when the scheduled duration of the journey is more than 3 hours),
• compensation up to 50 % of the ticket price if the service provider fails to offer the passenger the choice between reimbursement of the ticket price or rerouting in case of cancellation or long delay; and
• specific assistance at no additional cost for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at bus terminals and on board.
The Ministry of Works and Transport has created specific legislation and regulations to govern the usage of roads through licencing fees, etc., but very little has been done to enure the rights of cosnumers of public transport are respected.
We would like to encourage all stakeholders, including the Ministry, Namibia Bus and Taxi Association, Media and consumer bodies to correct this lack of consumer protection for users of public road services.
11 June 2013