RTSA clamps Ticklay buses


THE Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has revoked the road service licence for City Express, which is operating as Ticklay Bus Services, for failing to meet roadworthiness standards for buses in a move that is expected to send red flags of warning to other operators.
RTSA has also suspended the road service licence of the operator of the 16-seater Toyota Hiace minibus which killed 16 people in Chibombo last month.
Recently, a Solwezi-bound bus belonging to Ticklay overturned after cruising over humps near Kabangwe.
RTSA chief executive officer Zindaba Soko said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that RTSA regrets non-compliance to conditions of the licence which has resulted in the revocation of the licence.
“Owing to the frequency of the breach of the conditions upon which the licence was issued to City Express, the agency deeply regrets to announce the revocation of the City Express licence ,with immediate effect, in accordance with section 108 (16) of the Road Traffic Act no. 11 of 2002,” he said.
Mr Soko said on February 7, 2013, a passenger complained to RTSA about the unworthiness of one of the buses and instituted investigations into the allegations which turned out to be true.
RTSA suspended the operator’s road service licence number 0073854.
Mr Soko said 20 days later, RTSA re-examined the five buses and observed that defects identified by the examiners had been rectified.
“As a result, the suspension was lifted. However, the agency cautioned City Express in a letter dated February 28, against further violations of the conditions upon which the licence was issued (a recurrence of the City Express fleet failing short of the required roadworthiness),” he said.
He said the recent incident where another Solwezi-bound bus overturned after Kabangwe indicates that it was not roadworthy.
He said preliminary investigations have established that the accident was caused by a mechanical fault which could have been avoided if the bus was roadworthy.
On the operator of  a minibus which claimed 16 lives, Mr Soko said the road service licence was suspended because the owner, Aubrey Membe, did not know the driver of his vehicle.
“Investigations revealed that the minibus was operating outside its designated route and the driver was unlicensed…RTSA hereby suspends Mr Aubrey Membe’s licence for a period of three months with immediate effect,” he said.