–The Zambia Bus and Taxi Workers’ Union (ZABUTWU) has backed the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) directive to public operators to paint or fix a 10 centimetre diameter reflective ribbon on their vehicles by end of August 2014.
ZABUTWU President James Lyambai said RTSA should enforce the law to ensure safety of both public transport service vehicle drivers and the traveling publics.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr Lyambai said the August 31st deadline would bring sanity and reduce traffic contravention and piracy on the roads countrywide.
Mr Lyambai observed that some taxis and mini-bus drivers were not paying tax to the government through RTSA.
He observed that in the recent past, some taxi and mini-bus drivers were murdered by unsuspecting bandits because of using unregistered vehicles.
Mr Lyambai appealed to his members to comply with RTSA regulations to avoid being in conflict with traffic law enforcement officers.
RTSA has maintained that 31st august, 2014 is the final deadline and ruled out any possibility of extending the grace period given to public service vehicle operators to paint or fix a 10 centimetre diameter reflective ribbon on their vehicles.
RTSA Information Officer Fredrick Mubanga said that the new regulation aims at addressing the concern of pirate taxis and mini-buses or vehicles that are being used for the conveyance of passengers on hire without being licensed.
Mr Mubanga urged public service vehicle operators to comply with the Statutory Instrument No. 39 of 2013 of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 which took effect on 31st August, last year.
Mr. Mubanga is however, impressed with the compliance coming from bus operators but regretted that taxi operators were reluctant in fixing the ribbons.
He emphasized that the new colour schemes for passenger public service vehicles is making it easy for passengers to identify public transport vehicles from private ones and added vehicles without the approved colour scheme are at risk of being easily hijacked by criminals.
In Lusaka, buses and taxies are required to have orange ribbons, sky blue for Luapula, emerald green for Eastern, while Copper belt buses and taxies will have copper ribbons.
Central province will have yellow, Northern Province red, North-western silver, Muchinga wispy or lime green, Southern province purple-amethyst, and Western province light brown ribbons.