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Gov’t urged to increase seating capacity in public transport

By Rana Husseini - Mar 16,2021 - Last updated at Mar 16,2021

AMMAN — President of the Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union Ahmad Abu Haidar on Monday urged the government to reconsider its recent decision to reduce the passenger capacity in public transport from 75 to 50 per cent.

“The sector is already hit hard economically with the impact of the pandemic and the last thing we expected was for the government to take a decision to reduce the passenger capacity,” Abu Haidar told The Jordan Times.

Abu Haider said at the time that the 50 per cent capacity “did not bring in enough fares for taxis, buses and other means  of transport”.

He pointed out that shared taxi drivers (known as service) in particular were demanding increased fares to be compensated for financial losses resulting from the lower passenger capacity being enforced by authorities.

Abu Haidar stressed that the “only way” to ensure compensation for the drivers’ losses is to increase the passenger capacity to 100 per cent.

“Even at full capacity, passengers can still commit to wearing face masks and sanitising procedures to prevent the spread of the virus,” Abu Haidar noted. 

Abu Haidar urged the government to reconsider its decision and ensure a “full passenger capacity instead of workers in this sector dying from hunger”.

“All we are asking for is to have some flexibility by the government. This decision and the curfew that starts at 7pm surely increased the economic burden on everyone working in this sector,” Abu Haidar said.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Wajih Azaizeh on Sunday was quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, as saying that the ministry was studying the economic ramifications of the decision to reduce the passenger capacity to 50 per cent to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The minister stressed, during a meeting with union leaders to discuss the government’s decision, that the passenger capacity “will go back to what it was before by the end of the month if the number of people infected with the virus decreases,” according to Petra.

The minister said that “the door will always be open for dialogue in a manner that would benefit everyone involved in the sector”.

In June of last year, and following repeated demands by representatives from the transport sector, the government announced that all modes of public transport can increase passenger capacity to 75 per cent, instead of 50 per cent. 

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