Xmas travellers in tough return effort

07Jan 2022
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Xmas travellers in tough return effort

THOUSANDS of passengers were yesterday still stranded at the main bus terminals in Moshi and Arusha as travellers for the Christmas festival connecting with the New Year were in frantic pushing for bus seats to return to Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and other locations.

THOUSANDS of passengers were yesterday still stranded at the main bus terminals in Moshi and Arusha as travellers for the Christmas festival connecting with the New Year were in frantic pushing for bus seats to return to Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and other locations.

The main affected groups are employees many of whose holidays are knocking off already and aren’t yet on their work stations, while those going to school in various towns and cities are a big group as well.

An unsuccessful rush for tickets comes ahead of scheduled opening of schools and a range of public offices from Monday this week, compelled the regional authorities to allow private minibuses and regular buses plying other routes to serve high-demand destinations like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Mbeya. 

Travellers streaming into Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions for their near-ritual annual retreat to their villages often face similar problems in coming for the festivals as buses are overwhelmed, and private vehicles don’t suffice.

Now they are hopping into fully-packed private vehicles and PSVs for the back to work trip or reporting to school, putting operators of public service vehicles (PSVs) on harvest season, where plenty of intrepid passenger haulage enthusiasts shall have work on their hands until the end of the week.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Zauda Mohammed, the Kilimanjaro regional traffic officer, said that PSVs at the Moshi bus terminal were overwhelmed, prompting law enforcers to liaise with the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) to address the situation by issuing temporary transport licences (permits) to minibuses and PSVs to change routes.

The traffic commander said that some bus operators were tempted to hike fares and make a killing during this high-demand period, as every problem is an opportunity for some other person.

“We are constantly making public announcements at the Moshi bus terminal advising passengers to inform the traffic unit or LATRA in case of overcharging for bus fares or flaunting traffic rules by drivers,” she said.

Paul Michael, the LATRA zonal officer, said that they had provided 15 ‘temporary transport licenses’ to some bus owners to operate or change their routes to transport passengers of high-demand destinations.

Emmanuel Msagati, a transport agent in Arusha said that on Wednesday morning no bus booking was left for Dar es Salaam, thus leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Some clung to hope by waiting at the bus terminal and others opted to go back home, he said.

Happiness Laban, a passenger headed to Dar es Salaam who was stranded in Arusha, said she arrived at the bus stand at 6:30am and was shocked to learn that all buses heading to Dar es Salaam were full.

Febronia Tesha, stranded in Moshi, had no choice but to cancel her planned travel and go back home.

“As you can see, I am with my two children who are in class two and four. They are supposed to go to school on Monday but there is no means of travelling today to Dar es Salaam as all buses are full,” she said.

“Some of the agents are trying to make us pay twice the fare for a bus that is not there yet,” the passenger added.