- Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 02:08
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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DAR ES SALAAM residents should now brace themselves for increased commuter bus fares, as some operators have started applying to hike the charges by almost 150 per cent, on grounds of ever rising costs of operation.
The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) on Tuesday confirmed to have received an application from Cordial Transport Services, one of commuter buses operators in the city.
"The company has cited inflation and higher fuel prices as causes for increased costs of operation, among the reasons for the application of fare hike," SUMATRA Public Affairs Manager, Mr David Mziray, said in the statement.
At present, passengers in the city pay between 300/- and 500/- for a single trip, depending on the length of the route while students pay 150/-.
In the application by the company, passengers who pay 300/- per route at present will have to dig deeper into their pockets and cough up 750/-. Those paying 500/- for a trip will have to fork-out 1,250/- per route. Students will then have to pay 375/-, up from 150/- at present. Under SUMATRA Act of 2001, the regulator will now convene a public hearing next week on the application.
The hearing is expected to be attended by various stakeholders including passengers, operators of commuter buses and the general public. Mr Mziray said Cordial Transport Services will during the meeting make a presentation to justify revision of the current fares, after which other stakeholders will air their views on the application. He said a written submissions ahead of the public hearing could also be forwarded to SUMATRA's main offices in the city.
Previously, bus operators used to apply for revision of fares through their umbrella organisation namely Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) and Dar es Salaam Commuter Buses Owners Association (DARCOBOA). However, they are currently not allowed to apply for review of fares through the organisation as it amounts to forming a cartel, according to Mr Mziray.
"Under the SUMATRA legislation, individual company can apply for revision of fares and the regulator has the mandate of convening a public hearing to gather views on the application from the stakeholders," Mr Mziray told the 'Daily News' in a telephone interview.
It is only in March, last year, that the SUMATRA Board of Directors increased bus fares following an application by DARCOBOA. The board also directed bus operators to properly provide for standing passengers by configuring and clearly marking the required capacity, in addition to adequately insuring their vehicles and passengers.