BT minibus operators want to go back to 3 per seat

Minibus drivers and Conductors

Minibus Drivers and Conductors Association in Blantyre have petitioned the City Council to consider revising the by law which restrict them to two passengers per seat.

The grouping said they feel COVID-19 rules are only applying to them while football matches, entertainment events are taking place with people disregarding proximity issues.

Chifundo Kandoje, acting chairperson of the Association said they want the Council to review its stand and allow them to resume operating with three passengers. They have given the authorities seven days to respond.

“We do not believe the numbers might rise because of us, if you have seen shows, weddings, schools, what has hurt us more is that a South African musician and there were a lot of people. If its spreading COVID-19 that was the place and the government did not say anything meaning everything is free but only minibuses are in lockdown.

“We are being fined a lot of money when they find us picking up three passengers which is unfair,” Kandoje said.

He explained if the situation will not be worked out soon, they will have to resolve to taking to the streets to protest.

the drivers and conductors at BCC
The Drivers and Conductors at BCC

A quick check up in the morning hours indicated minibus drivers are taking three people per seat but with caution as traffic police personnel do clamp down on offenders.

One of the passengers from Zingwangwa to Blantyre Central Business District Godfrey Kumani said they use public transport daily and it is difficult to get the drivers and conductors to agree to the two passenger restriction and they are forced to accept another person on the seat.

But Kandoje said it is a burden for the drivers to reach the targets set by their bosses. They say while they appreciate the government is trying to protect the people from a new wave of COVID-19 they feel side-lined as others are being allowed to converge except them.

At the Council the petition was received by the secretary to the Chief Executive Officer who stamped the letter but advised the group, the CEO was not in his office.

She did not disclose much but assured them their petition will be channelled through the right authorities and a response communicated.

It transpired another group of drivers had put in a request to ask for the same and their request is yet to answered.

Dated December 2 the letter is short but asks the Council to consider making it legal to take three passengers.