MASERU — A new public transport terminus at the Pioneer Shopping Centre is expected to be ready by the end of February next year.
The taxi rank? which authorities say is meant to make life easier for shoppers who are currently walking all the way to and from the city’s main Sefika bus stop ? is set to be a “modern” terminus that would complement the upmarket Pioneer Mall, which opened to the public on November 25 this year.
The rank is expected to accommodate 50 taxis from each route within the Maseru region and its environs, according to Maseru Region Transport Operators spokesperson, Lebohang Moea.
“The mall is situated in an area that is not easily accessible by those who do not have their own vehicles, so we are trying to make transport readily available and accessible for people who come shopping at the complex,” Moea said.
Shoppers have been promised a structure they would be proud of, just like the Pioneer Shopping Centre? a high-class shopping complex and the first of its kind in Lesotho.
According to Moea, there will be electronic boards indicating the different routes, well-designed parking bays, public toilets, MRTO offices and adequate security to maintain order at the terminus.
“Since there are shops that close very late at the mall, taxis will also be operating well into the night. There will be private security complementing the police, to ensure adequate security for our passengers.”
While Moea is upbeat about the new bus stop, some residents have slammed the new project, saying it would be an eyesore and a blemish on the precinct.
A shopper at the mall, Masetho Molefe said while it would make life easier for customers, there was also a downside to the proposed bus stop.
“People are just going to litter around containers and plastic bags, which will turn this place ugly. Even though they are promising that it would be orderly, it is not going to be easy controlling taxi drivers because they mostly rude and impatient. As for the number of taxis that are going to use that rank, it is not going to be controllable. And again, with all the vendors who are going to be flocking to the bus stop, the mall is never going to be the same again,” said Molefe.
Khotso Matla, another shopper, said the bus stop could mean the end of the mall’s claim to fame.
“Even though it is a good idea, taxi drivers are going to turn it into something else,” Matla said.
“Most passengers don’t care about having a clean environment, so the bus stop could be bad for the mall. In fact, the bus stop will reduce the new mall to nothing but an ordinary shopping centre,” he said.
Lineo Mahao had different views, saying the bus stop would be good for people who use public transport.
“I think it is a good idea for us who do not have cars. It would make our shopping easier,” Mahao said.
“It’s just a matter of disciplining the taxi drivers and passengers. If it is true that they would provide security and other facilities, that would help reduce traffic congestion and crime at the bus stop,” she said.