Maputo set for public transport price increase

Authorities in Maputo have approved a 40 per cent increase in charges for public transport, four years after a similar price hike triggered riots that resulted in the deaths of four people in Maputo and the resignation of then transport minister Antonio Mungwambe.

A one-way fare will rise from its current five meticais (about $0.17) to seven meticais (about $0.25), for short distances, and from 7.5 to nine meticais for longer distances (10 or more km).

Maputo has only 250 public buses to transport about two million commuters, and says that the price hikes are the only way to enable the city to increase its fleet to 400.

In addition to the public buses, many commuters in Maputo rely on privately-owned minibuses, known locally as "chapas", whose owners have long requested a significant increase in fares.

However the city is putting pressure on chapa operators to cease cutting their routes in two – a common practice – thereby forcing passengers to catch at least two buses.

In February 2008 bus fares were raised by 50 per cent but the municipality overturned the decision within 24 hours after the violent clashes in Maputo.