Saturday, February 26, 2011

TABOA blames middlemen for fare hikes

IN an unprecedented move, Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) has refuted claims that, it has increased upcountry bus fare rates and instead it has critically thrown a blame to middlemen for hiking passenger tickets at Ubungo upcountry bus stand. They have said that, middlemen have the habit of buying tickets, hoarded them and later on sells them at higher rates for their own benefits. The move comes amid reports that, the current fare hikes at the bus terminal is highly instigated by the TABOA and traveling agents an aspect that the association says is far away concerned with such allegations. TABOA’s chairperson Mr. Mohammed Abdullah said in an interview recently that, they are anxiously waiting for their proposal they had sent to the government requesting for a fare increase but have not yet been answered. He noted that, “although the government has been keeping quite with their request, it must understand that, the issue of fare increase must be there otherwise this is one way of killing transport sector if the government looks at the matter on the negative side”. However, he has expressed dismay over the government’s silence to work on their request quickly although he insists that it should be given special attention as it deserves. In early January this year, the Minister for Transport Mr. Omary Nundu, announced that, the government could not see the logic of allowing upcountry bus owners to increase fares since bus owners are embracing touts who helps them to get passengers, thus increasing bus fares. According to the Minister, as the government is struggling to remove touts from the terminal, bus owners are protecting them because they entirely rely upon them to hunt for passengers. In so doing, the Minister has accused them for increasing operational costs.

The Chairperson of the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) Mr. Mohammed Abdullah in his office which is located near at a junction of Nyerere Road and Kilwa Road in Dar es Salaam.

TABOA on the other hand expressed dismay over the government’s decision which has the intention of rejecting their proposal for raising fares on that ground. However, on the other hand have blamed the government for the presence of touts as it was their responsibility to chase them. TABOA ‘s efforts to chase touts out of the Ubungo bus terminal has not bore fruits as they usually sabotage operations of the buses, and sometimes sells forged tickets to passengers. Sometimes it has been difficult to control this because of the threats posed by them. Outlining some of the basic losses caused by touts at the terminal, TABOA’s boss says that, touts brings confusions between them and the passengers, he has however called on the transport authorities and police to intervene in by resolving such disturbances caused. Meanwhile, the Dar es Salaam based Police special zone commander Suleiman Kova was earlier quoted by the local media as saying that, “changes could not come overnight even removing touts from Ubungo terminal will be done gradually.” He said adding that, with the touts is not only the police force’s responsibility, but is a concern of everyone and all other stakeholders must participate. According to Surface Marine Transport Agency (SUMATRA) Public Affairs Manager Mr. David Mziray, the issue of removing touts is in the hands of council militias as the Ubungo yard belongs to the Dar es Salaam City Council.

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