Tanzania lifts ban on night travel for bus services

AS a result of improved infrastructure and suggestions from stakeholders, the government has lifted the ban on night travel by upcountry bus operators.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa made the announcement on Wednesday while adjourning the 11th session of the 12th Parliament in Dodoma.

The announcement comes a month after the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) approved upcountry bus services beginning at 3 a.m.

“In light of the improvement in roads and communication countrywide, as well as the opinions of various stakeholders in the transport sector, including lawmakers, it appears that bus owners and drivers are willing to comply with road safety regulations

“The government has decided to rescind the ban on passenger buses travelling at night, imposed in the 1990s. The police force and other security agencies are also ready to strengthen patrols,” he said.

To implement the decision, Mr Majaliwa said the Ministry of Home Affairs would cooperate with the Ministry of Works and Transport, particularly in the transportation sector, to establish a procedure for bus owners and drivers who plan to transport passengers at night.

At the end of the 1990s, passenger buses were banned from travelling at night because of frequent incidents of bus hijacking, which resulted in passengers being looted and humiliated, high rate of bus accidents, which resulted in deaths and permanent disabilities, as well as property and road infrastructure damage.

Buses were being seized in places with poor roads and no communication service, according to Premier Majaliwa.

“The government’s varied actions have also considerably decreased or entirely eliminated the security and infrastructure problems that occurred throughout that time,” said the PM.

He said that nearly every region in the country now has improved communications and road infrastructure.

Major traffic accidents have decreased as a result of LATRA’s decision to start deploying the Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), as well as police measures to combat and control crime, including patrolling highways and regional roads.

In May this year, LATRA announced that operators of upcountry buses wishing to commence trips at 3 a.m. should submit their applications to the regulator.

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