Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila says government wants to retain sanity in the transport sector through regulation.
Since the transport sector was deregulated in the early nineties there has been an increase in the ownership of public buses and minibuses, which has led to the necessity of having well-established bus depots.
In an interview last week, Kasaila said he was aware of the challenges passengers are facing when boarding buses and minibuses, hence government’s decision to regulate the sector.
“There is total chaos in the transport sector. Buses that are supposed to operate as intercity are operating like express or coachline and charging prices spasmodically. We will be strict in the way fares are structured so that we protect the passenger. As government, we will be setting maximum prices so that no operator should charge more than the set price,” he said.
Kasaila said other countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) have managed to maintain an orderly transport sector through regulation.
“We will be holding consultations with various stakeholders soon and once the rules and regulations have been agreed upon, those not complying will face stiff penalties including being refused operating licences.
Director for Road Traffic and Safety Services Jacques Manong’a said they are currently planning a schedule for meetings with various stakeholders in the transport sector so that nobody should feel victimised.
“We will be looking at various aspects including how prices are arrived at because it does not make sense that on the route you should pay K200 today and the next day K300. The conduct of drivers also leaves a lot to be desired because they pick and drop passengers anywhere causing accidents in some instances,” said Manong’a.