COMMENT:Introduce tracking system to monitor the behaviour of bus crews Buses in the city centre (Picture by Panashe Zingoni)

GOVERNMENT last Friday suspended the operators’ licences for Rimbi Tours and Zebra Kiss for disregarding the terms and conditions of their licences. The suspension follows a fatal accident that happened along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway last Tuesday at about 4pm when the driver of Rimbi Tours coach who was trying to overtake a Zebra Kiss bus hit the back of a tipper truck which was also going the same direction. 

Police investigations have revealed that the bus drivers were probably racing and blocking each other along the road thereby putting the lives of passengers in danger. 

In a video that has gone viral on social media, the two buses can be seen going in the same direction on a narrow highway. The driver of Zebra Kiss bus fails to take heed of a horn warning from Rimbi bus driver intending to overtake. 

The Zebra Kiss bus without warning, overtakes a tipper truck while the Rimbi bus which was following very close, rams into the back of the tipper truck. In a statement, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said the suspension means the operators’ buses will be withdrawn from all the routes they were plying and only resume operations once the Government has reviewed the situation and satisfied itself that they are fully compliant with the terms of the law. 

Minister Mhona said the two operators had to take corrective measures and will only be allowed to resume operations when Government is satisfied that they will not breach the terms and conditions under which their licences were issued. 

“The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has noted with great concern the video circulating on social media which captures the circumstances leading to the fatal road accident that occurred on 17 January 2023 in Mutoko District along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway,” said Minister Mhona.

He warned public transport operators violating traffic rules and regulations that they risk having their licences withdrawn. “The safety and security of the commuting public cannot be taken for granted hence we will not hesitate to suspend licences of bus operators that violate terms and conditions of such licences” said Minister Mhona. 

Highway buses load at undesignated point along Leopold Takawira Avenue at the Bulawayo Centenary Park.

It is unfortunate that one person died and several others were injured in an accident which could have been avoided had the two drivers observed traffic rules and regulations. The two drivers were racing thereby violating most of the traffic rules and regulations leading to the accident. What is painful is that the injured passengers were pleading with the Rimbi bus driver to stop the racing but the driver ignored their pleas.

 The operators whose buses were providing a vital service to the travelling public, are unfortunately being punished for the offence committed by their reckless drivers. It is our hope that the operators will take this opportunity to review their systems and come up with mechanisms to weed out errant drivers. 

There might be a need for a tracking system to monitor the behaviour of bus crews as part of efforts to tame the traffic jungle. Research has established that more than 80 percent of the road accidents are as a result of human error which means they can be avoided.  

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