PMVs in highlands increase fares by 50%

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TRAVELLERS in the highlands region are being forced to pay 50% on top of the normal PMV fares.
PMV owners there are using the increased fuel price to increase their fares.
The PMV fare from Chimbu to Mt Hagen city was K10 but that recently went up to K15.
In the past a trip from Mt Hagen to Mingende cost K8 but people now pay up to K13, from Kundiawa to Kudjip was K5 but is now K10.
The bus fare from Mt Hagen to Wabag increased from K10 to K15.
The PMV fare from Goroka to Mt Hagen was increased to K30 while from Goroka to Lae, which used to be K20, is now K30.
The illegal increases applied to other routes in the region as well.
A concerned mother from Chimbu’s Kerowagi district, who travelled to Mt Hagen last Friday, expressed concerns over the increases.
Rita Desmond, a mother of one from Yagle village, said PMV operators were charging excessive fees and the police, land transport board and even the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) did nothing to stop them.
She said many people argued with PMV crews over the extra fees but were forced to pay extra and some PMVs threatened to drop passengers along the road if they did not pay the new fares.
She said travellers would not mind if the PMV fares increased by 5% given the increased price of fuel and lubricants.
John Yalipa, another concerned villager from Kamas village in Enga’s Wabag district, who frequently travels by road between Mt Hagen and Wabag to buy goods for his small business, expressed similar sentiments.
He said because of the extra fees charged, he had to increase the price of his goods, adding that if he did not raise his prices, he would not make any profit.
ICCC Commissioner Dr Billy Manoka said recently that the extra fees charged by PMV owners were illegal and the fares set by the ICCC in 2008 still stood.
He said they had not reviewed or increased fares and urged PMV owners not to charge extra.