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Govt lifts suspension on three bus operators’ licenses two months after fatal crash that killed 11

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By Tapiwa Svondo


GOVERNMENT has lifted the suspension on three major bus operators, Blue Circle, City Bus and Simlex Coaches imposed following a fatal crash that claimed 11 lives just two months ago in Beitbridge.

Swaymo Enterprises Pvt Ltd runs Blue Circle while City Bus is operated by Wipeco Investments Pvt Ltd.

The Minister of Transport Felix Mhona had cited that the three companies had multiple breaches of license terms and conditions.

Mhona had pointed to specific regulatory violations, including the City Bus vehicle lacking a valid certificate of fitness and speed limiting device, as well as the driver not possessing a valid defensive driving certification, contravening Section 31 of the Road Traffic Act.

Regarding the Blue Circle bus, Mhona had stated that the operator failed to cooperate with investigations, leading the Ministry to infer that the driver was also not compliant with requirements. Additionally, Bluecircle did not have the necessary route authority to operate the service.

“Hon F.T Mhona lifted the suspensions of licences of operation on all omnibuses belonging to Bluecircle, City Bus and Simlex Coaches following their suspension in March this year after breaching terms and conditions of their licences leading to fatal road crashes,” reads a statement issued by Mhona.

He added that all transport operators will be placed under heightened “Compliance monitoring”, using ICT tools to track compliance each time they pass through toll checkpoints.

“Going forward bus operators will be placed on a Compliance Monitoring Programme to continually assess adherence to regulatory requirements and further reiterated that the Ministry will make use of ICT tools to monitor compliance of all transport operators to ensure regulatory violations are recorded in real-time as vehicles pass through tolling points.

“Hon Mhona further condemned the recent acts of public violence at bus loading bays and ranks in Mutare saying such actions severely impact on safety and security of commuters, bus crews and members of the public, especially children, women and people with disabilities”, said Mhona.

RELATED: Govt suspends licences for Blue Circle, City Bus involved in fatal accident that claimed 11 lives

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe president Tafadzwa Goliath, welcomed the lifting of the suspension.

“The Minister has done a commendable job in lifting the ban. We also approve the compliance monitoring system that has been put in place, because at one time we once did a portfolio committee emphasising that all the buses and public transport vehicles such as Kombis that ferry people should be installed with speed limiters”, said Goliath.

Goliath also pleaded with the Road Traffic Act and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to increase the number of roadblocks during the day and night as this helps to capture those who are not complying with the laws.

“We encourage the law enforcement, the Road Traffic Act and the police to boost the night and day patrols, as we see they are less so that this can instil fear in vehicle operators so that they won’t breach the code.

“Also the fine be it money or jail sentence should be increased, so that those who break the laws will know the after-effects before they attempt to act funny like running away from the police, drinking and driving, and also the cancellation of operating licenses should always be optional even though we have witnessed the unban of these 3 bus operators”, he added.