11 December 2012

Namibia: Order Returns to Chaotic Monte Christo

Windhoek — Order has replaced chaos at the Monte Christo passenger loading zone where menacing long-distance marshals used to wrestle each other and accosted travellers as they fought over their luggage.

In the past, chaotic scenes were the order of the day at the Monte Christo service station as long-distance bus drivers and bus marshals, or so-called 'loading masters', battled over travellers and their luggage. But now there is a dignified sense of order, thanks to the efforts of the Namibian Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta), the police, the volunteer organization Women and Men Network and the management of the service station.

According to Vespa Akuunda, Nabta's national secretary, at Monte Cristo loading zone they had to intervene to end the chaos. In the past, drivers and loading masters would bore down on any potential traveller, rudely grabbing their luggage and bundling it into their buses. Some travellers even lost their luggage as a result.

Akuunda says Nabta also engaged with Tobias Hainyeko Constituency councillor Zulu Shitongeni, as well as municipal councillors over the chaos that prevailed at Monte Christo.

Nabta has now set up a Passenger Loading Control book in which details like pasengers' names, destination, date of departure and a contact mobile number will be recorded, including contact details of the next of kin in case an accident happens.

"When passengers arrive at the loading zone they will first register in the book, where we can now identify who boards which bus," explained Akuunda.

Akuunda further said the book will help people to be identified easily if the bus gets involved in an accident.

"Whenever they board, they pay for the seat which is N$190 to Oshakati and also they pay for the luggage, bedding, zinc and all property that starts at N$10.00 for bags that cannot fit inside the bus," he told New Era. "The book can also help to identify overloading and overcharging, and it makes the process easier to control and to identify stolen goods," he said.

Akuunda further said the book will also help the owners of the buses to reconcile the receipts handed in by the drivers and reduce the risk of theft.

Akuunda further thanked the community policing organization, Women and Men Network which is operating 24 hours a day at the Monte Christo service station.

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