PRIVATE taxi owners in Lusaka Province have maintained that they do not want to have their vehicles painted blue as this would be costly and inconveniencing to their operations.
Taxi owners gave their submissions yesterday during a Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) consultative meeting whose main objective was to discuss issues concerning the operations of private taxis in Lusaka province.
The meeting, held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Lusaka, brought together stakeholders in the transport sector that included representation from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the Commuters Rights Association of Zambia (CRZ) and the Zambia Association of Motorists.
Among the issues tabled were that of colour coding to aid in private taxi registration and the process involved in the issuance of public service vehicle (PSV) licenses.
Private taxi owner, Patience Hatongo, said in an interview that she was not in favour of colour coded taxis because it was an added cost to her.
“I am in favour of having a disc on the windscreen and not in favour of painting the taxi blue because a taxi can still be recognised on the road this way and road tax will still be paid.
“Another problem with the painted taxi is that if I want to travel out of town with my taxi I would have to first get a permit from RTSA in order to do so which is inconveniencing,” Mrs Hatongo said.
Mrs Hatongo added that she was also not in favour of painting her taxi blue because some places within Lusaka did not allow registered taxis to operate from there.
She also expressed worry over the costs that painting her taxi would incur if she eventually decided to sell it to a different owner.
RTSA deputy acting director of transport, Cytone Kibela explained that the disc was the product of the road service license which is issued under the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) tax clearance certificate.
Regarding PSVs Mr Kibela said the main contention had always been over the age and driving experience of PSV drivers and advised that the criteria involved in issuing licenses to those under PSVs had to be followed.
“As RTSA we have a concern with age especially after the considerable number of accidents recorded by the agency,” he said. “This is why it was proposed that 25 years must be the limit.”
However, some stakeholders present submitted that the age limit is reduced and also proposed that more emphasis is placed on driving experience.
This view was disputed by those who felt that a PSV driver needed to be of a mature age to appreciate the responsibility that came with being a professional driver in whose hands the lives of people are to be entrusted.
Mr Kibela said consultations were on-going in order to help harmonise the operations of the agency and stakeholders in the Zambian transport sector.