THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has threatened to take legal action against public transport operators who are violating commuters’ rights.
CCPC commissioner John Mulongoti said unfair trading practices in the transport sector, particularly public bus operations, should be stopped.
Mr Mulongoti said this in a speech read for him by CCPC chief economist for domestic trade Sunday Chikoti during the launch of the commuter awareness booklet in Chipata recently.
“We cannot overlook situations where upon arrival at bus stations, commuters are immediately thronged by call boys even before they enter the gates of the bus station to the extent of grabbing their luggage,” he said.
He said commuters are coerced to board buses against their will resulting into inconvenience and loss of time as well as luggage loss in some cases.
Other commuters are made to wait on the bus for long hours and some bus operators even argue that once a ticket is bought it cannot be refunded.
Mr Mulongoti said the launch of the booklet will help commuters know their rights since the bus operators know what the law says about their business operations.
He said legal action will be taken against any bus operator who exploits commuters once the complaint is received by the commission.
Mr Mulongoti urged local authorities and other stakeholders to work with the commission by bringing sanity to the transport sector.
At the same function, Chipata mayor Jealous Phiri said the launch of the booklet is timely because commuters have been mistreated and lost their moneys and some swindled at bus stations.
Mr Phiri cited unfair trading practices going on at Kapata main bus station saying commuters are getting a raw deal from public bus transporters.
He said Chipata Municipal Council will implement the market and bus station Act to ensure consumer rights are not violated any more.
“May I also challenge other consumer protection bodies and relevant sector regulators in my domain and countrywide to emulate CCPC to restore sanity at bus stations,” he said.
Mr Phiri urged local bus operators to improve their services by respecting consumers who give them business.
Zambia Daily Mail