The country’s consumer watch dog, the Independent Consumer and Competitions Commission (ICCC), has made it crystal clear that no PMV or taxi operator is to charge extra above the approved fares for 2022 announced by the Commission just recently.
According to the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Paulus Ain, the ICCC can only determine the maximum fares from one end to another, and operators are allowed to compete by charging at or below the maximum fares set, but they cannot charge above these fares, and any operator charging above is in breach of the Prices Regulation Act.
“Furthermore, it is impractical and inconvenient for the ICCC to determine the fares for every bus stop along a specific route, within an urban area. In the case of urban PMVs, should a passenger decide to get off somewhere in the middle of a particular route, then the PMV operator should charge at or below the maximum approved fare.”
He added that by charging below, the PMV operator encourages healthy competition, which is good for both PMVs and commuters.
He made this statement after the ICCC learnt that some PMV operators, particularly in Lae, went on strike after being confronted by commuters because of the increase in fares.
He said adult commuters should pay the applicable and approved fare, while students pay the applicable fares as well as specified in National Gazette No. G888 of 2021. The applicable concessions are, half of the maximum fare for students up to and including those in Grade 10, three-quarters of the maximum fare for students in Grades 11 and 12, and those in technical and tertiary institutions.
Meanwhile, the ICCC is aware of these recent complaints and concerns raised by the public regarding this and is therefore advising the public to report any instances of overcharging by contacting the Commission.
The ICCC is working alongside the Road Traffic Authority and respective provincial administrations to continue monitoring the fares in the country.
The adjusted PMV and taxi fares for 2022 commenced on 1st January 2022 after the new fares were determined by adjusting the 2021 fares in line with the changes in the monthly fuel prices for the respective centres, and the movements in the quarterly Consumer Price Index (CPI).