Chilufya Tayali writes:
The other day I got on a minibus from Kulima tower going to Kabwata and we were shoved like bags of maize for the operator to maximize the fares collected.
With my big mouth I tried to protest but none among my fellow passengers gave me a backing, on the contrary some more people were jumping in.
I have also been on long trips in various buses especially between Mongu and Lusaka, Solwezi and Lusaka and Livingstone and Lusaka. It has been a while since I went to Chipata.
The buses on these routes are very fast in spite of our roads being very dangerous due to the fact that, they are two ways and narrow, with potholes in unexpected points.
It is very rare to hear of passengers complaining against over speeding. Unfortunately, even in those rare instances where they complain, no one listens. At times those passengers who complain are shut by other fellow passengers who seem to have signed a suicide mission to reach fast where they are going.
I have tried to report buses to traffic officers on a road traffic but nothing happens either because the passengers side with the driver or the police compromise.
The bus operators are also eager to have their busses do many trips, filled to capacity but little is done to maintain the same buses.
I have a problem with leasing of our traffic control to a foreign company when Zambians can run RTSA, but that is a topic for another day, for now I will say that, they are doing well but they are also lacking in patrols on the highways to reduce on human error.
Most of the accidents are due to human error, such that, the physical check of buses before they leave intercity is inconsequential, if not contribute to the over speeding since the bus is able to go faster.
Nonetheless, this problem cannot be apportioned to only one part of the entire transport business system.
The public need to be sensitized on their rights relating to public transport. They should not be overloaded and be able to caution a driver contravening traffic rules.
Consumer protection also comes in because commuters are being abused by consuming poor services offered by these transporters.
The police should also not compromise on the laid down rules of public transport. Why do we have 16 seaters buses carrying more people? Why do minibuses remove safe and comfortable chairs from buses to replace them with unsafe ones?
Can we have more road patrols on our highways by RTSA and traffic officers to reduce on dangerous driving.
Can transport operators with a certain frequency of road accidents be penalized and deregistered if they continue. That way, they will be more careful on who they employ and how they look after their buses.
No one is safe on the road because the mistake of a motorist can affect other innocent people like the two people that died in a truck when the Mazhandu bus collided with it.
The bus is the one that lost control out of over speeding and went to hit into the truck where the driver and a female passenger died.
Seven people died in the bus which included a driver.
We offer condolences to all the victims of that tragic accident. May God receive their souls.