Striking PMV owners lose licences

Lae News, Normal

The National, Friday, June 10th 2011

PMV operators who held thousands of Lae City commuters to ransom yesterday by going on strike will today have their licences revoked.
Morobe land transport control board chairman Bini Hefua yesterday told city PMV operators of Western Highlands origin, “Consider your licences revoked.”
The Western Highlanders had pulled out more than 50 of their buses from the streets and threatened other PMV operators to stop operating yesterday while they met with Morobe Governor Luther Wenge at the Niall Reserve to present their grievances arising from ethnic fighting at Malahang last week.
The board felt the strike was an injustice to city commuters and decided on radical measures to discourage further such actions.
Its members representing women, Fisika, Ahi, Nawaeb, Wau-Bulolo, and Markham, were compelled into action after seeing the long queues of commuters in the morning walking to work.
At the urgent meeting at noon, the board resolved to deregister the Western Highlanders and all other operators who took part in the strike.
To cover the expected shortfall of PMVs on the roads today, Hefua said the board had passed a resolution to have rural operators run the city’s routes.
PMVs on route two (Wau Bulolo), three (Markham), four (Situm Bukawa), and five (Erap Wain) and the Madang route had been given the green-light to operate between the times they take their passengers into the city and when they leave.
“The board has already prepared letters to inform police and traffic officers and transport inspectors of the decision so that the rural operators will not be booked for breaching designated routes,” Hefua said.
He said fares would remain at the prescribed rates – any rise would incur the penalty of revocation of license.
Hefua urged vehicle owners, preferably Morobeans, to immediately register their trucks and buses as PMVs.
He has been forced to take the radical measures primarily because the problem was “confined to the residents of the Back (Busu) Road and yet it affected the whole city.
“And it didn’t have anything to do with PMVs,” he said.