Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

26 November 2012

Tanzania: Bus Owners Warned Against Hiking Fares

THE Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) has vowed to intensify inspection at the Ubungo Bus Terminal in Dar es Salaam to curb various malpractices including hiking of fare during year end holiday season.

Regular and intensive inspection is scheduled to start early next month, when the season begins. The Authority urged bus owners to adhere strictly to operational rules and guidelines during the period, otherwise they would risk deterrent punishment.

SUMATRA's acting Director General Mr Ahmad Kilima said they have tripled the number of personnel at the terminal to 15 and during the peak season. "We are very serious on this. We don't want operators to cheat travellers due to the high demand in December," Mr Kilima told the 'Daily News'.

He added: "Despite decreased bad incidents we are not going to rest....Some of the staff at our head office will be deployed during the morning to help beef up the exercise at Ubungo." The SUMATRA boss said the same would be implemented in January at the chronic areas during the return of the passengers-- especially in Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

When Christmas approaches northern-east Tanzanians travel to their homeland to celebrate the festival and some use the occasion as a period of family reunion. Some family matters are planned and budgeted to be conducted in December thus pushing the demand for buses, which normally fail to be satisfied.

Some bus owners use the period to maximize profits at the expense of desperate passengers who want to go home at any cost. Mr Kilima said the law required the regulator to either revoke the operating license or fine the culprits up to 250,000/-.

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