Sumatra asks Dar residents to suggest bus fares

07Jan 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Sumatra asks Dar residents to suggest bus fares

The Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) has invited Dar es Salaam commuters to propose fares to be used by the operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) interim services planned to start on January 10.

Sumatra asks Dar residents to suggest bus fares

SUMATRA Managing Director Gillird Ngewe invited public fare proposals after all fares proposed by the operator of interim services, UDA-RT Company, were rejected by the consultative stakeholders’ meeting held at the Karimjee hall in the city at the start of the week.

The managing director swore impartiality in handling the issue, saying the fares to be announced by SUMATRA shall be final and will have to be adopted by the operator of the interim services.

“As the regulator, we do not partially consider only proposals made by the operator but we consider and respect other proposals and views,” he reassured the well-attended attentive meeting.

He commended the spirit of the meeting and the lively debate of stakeholders, calling on Tanzanians to stick to that culture. He said the interests of the operator, the consumers and the nation will collectively be taken into account in determining the fares.

“The proposals presented by UDA-RT have been exhaustively discussed and the point has been made. The huge majority here wants them reviewed. I assure you we shall impartially review the proposals, all your observations and the written proposals we shall receive from the public,” he pledged.

Ngewe used the opportunity to call on bus operators to adopt countrywide proposed fares to enrich the culture of observing the law and doing business that takes care of the interests of all parties involved.

UDA-RT Managing Director David Mgwassa, welcomed the views of the stakeholders’ meeting, pledging to use them in making their final fare proposals but asked SUMATRA to consider what he called ‘prevailing operational costs’ so that the operator and commuters can both benefit from this scheme.

UDA-RT proposed 1,200/- for the Kimara-Kivukoni route, 700/- for Mbezi-Kimara and 1,400/- for feed routes to trunk road. All were rejected in the Tuesday’s meeting.

The Executive Secretary of the SUMMATRA Consumers’ Council, Dr Oscar Kikoyo, called for retaining the present fares on all routes, saying the measure would lessen the economic burden on shoulders of the commuters. Stakeholders’ views, he said, should be priotised in determining fares.
He said the new fares should be based on kilometres, rejecting the idea of having a fixed fare for a designated route.

“We know this is a big investment but in our view, this new bus route scheme seeks to make lives of the people better so it is logical to adopt the present fares during the interim service period,” he argued.

A majority of contributors to the debate called for a fresh review of the UDA-RT proposals.