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Sumatra slaps 'stop order' on five passenger buses

16th December 2012
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Five regional passenger buses have been suspended from operations effectively from December 15 to January 15 due to violation of transportation laws.

The suspension was announced by the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) in a televised interview, saying the step was taken after spot inspection to check on the conduct of bus operators.

Leo Ngowi, the SUMATRA acting director for road control and inspection, said in an interview that three buses are operated by AM Coach plying the Dar es Salaam to Mwanza route.
Two other buses belong to Set Star bus and Super Sun, traveling from Dar to Tandahimba.

AM Coach Bus was suspended after abandonment of passengers in the wild after a breakdown of the bus, a situation that forced the passengers to spend their night at the Geita police station.
Other violations made by AM Coach is raising passenger fares and going against the road traffic regulation of reporting at a police station for inspection.

The Super Sun and Set Star buses plying the Dar to Tandahimba route were suspended for raising passenger fares from Th35,400 which is legally recognized to Tsh45,000 on inspection day, he said.

About 65 buses have been found with various offenses of which 60 were penalized fines of TSh 250,000.

Buses whose operations were suspended are supposed to report to the police for inspection before starting on their routes again, he said.

Inspection include vehicle inspectio by the traffic police, with buses allowed to resume operations after Sumatra receives inspection reports from the police on the respective buses and drivers, he further stated.

According to Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA), grouping upcountry bus operators, the country has more that 700 buses operating between regions.

Last August, Sumatra suspended operations of all buses owned by Sabena company pending investigation into the competence of its drivers and the roadworthiness of its buses.

The Sumatra decision came after one of the company's buses with registration number T570 AAM was involved in an accident in which 17 people were killed and 78 others injured.

Sumatra also suspended operations of two buses with registration number T994 ASN and T258 ANG for two months each for failure to report accidents in which they were involved.
Ends/jz

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY