5 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Passenger Carrying Private Car Owners to Be Taken to Court

OWNERS of private vehicles used as public transport will no longer be issued with tickets or spot fines but will be taken to court, a senior traffic officer has said. Speaking at an anti-corruption campaign

here yesterday, officer commanding administration national traffic Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mthombeni said from now onwards private vehicles that are being used to ferry people would be taken to court as the police seek to maintain order on the road.

This comes in the wake of unregistered vehicles particularly the Toyota range of Gaia, Ipsum, Raum, Regius and Granvia among others that are being used to ferry paying passengers because of their space.

Slightly bigger than the average private vehicles and smaller than most commuter omnibuses, their size has been a major selling point.

"There should be no fines for non-public service vehicles (private vehicles) found ferrying paying passengers. In fact they should be taken to court from now onwards so that there is order on our roads," he said.

Of concern to the police is that the vehicles often carry paying passengers above the stipulated number as they are not inspected by VID.

Some motorists owning these vehicles have found a niche for ferrying people on the strength of quick movement owing to the less time it takes to fill vacant seats when compared to registered omnibuses.

This has put them on a collision course with registered operators who accuse the police of targeting them leaving out the unregistered operators.

Of great concern to the operators is that unregistered vehicles load passengers from anywhere while they are forced to load at designated places.

"We followed the proper procedures by registering our vehicles and adhering to the country's laws but it seems we are being punished for it.

"The operating environment has become a free for all," said one operator who declined to be identified.

This, he said, had affected their profits while conditions were tougher for them as they were forced to wait for longer periods at a designated rank while unregistered operators pick up passengers from anywhere.

Asst Comm Mthombeni said police officers had no right to confiscate motorists' particulars like driver's licences unless there was suspicion that they were fake.

He also reiterated that Forms 265, which allowed motorists more time to pay fines were no longer in use as they were costly to administer.

This means motorists pay spot fines, failure of which the vehicle is impounded.

"A motorist who has a faulty vehicle should also move around with money for spot fines because they know very well that we are going to stop them," he said.

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