Dar-Mwanza buses to start journeys at 5 am this month

01Jan 2018
James Kandoya
The Guardian
Dar-Mwanza buses to start journeys at 5 am this month
  • The proposal to bring forward departure times by one hour is aimed at curbing over-speeding in trying to beat the 10 pm deadline for buses to be on the road

UPCOUNTRY passenger buses from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza will from this month start piloting the proposal to introduce 5 am as the official departure time, instead of the current 6 am.

Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba.

The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA)’s director of road transport regulation, Johansen Kahetano, told The Guardian that this is in accordance with a recent directive from Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba.

The proposal to bring forward bus departure times by one hour came about after it emerged that the bus drivers tend to overspeed in trying to beat the 10 pm deadline when upcountry passenger buses are not allowed to still be on the road.

Speaking during the national road safety week in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region a couple of months ago, Nchemba instructed SUMATRA to consult with other road safety stakeholders and come up with a new transport framework that will; help reduce road accidents in the country.

The minister said the aim is to reduce the pressure on bus drivers to get to their destinations early.

According to Kahetano, the Dar-Mwanza route will be used as a pilot project and other routes will be added to the new timetable later.

Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) secretary general Ernea Mrutu also hailed the move, saying it will reduce the risk of bus drivers scrambling with time factors.

During the road safety week, speeding was mentioned among five major risk factors contributing to road crashes that claim thousands of lives each year. Others are non-use of helmets and seat belts, drink-driving, and lack of children restraints in vehicles.

Statistics show that pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable group affected by road accidents caused by speeding in Tanzania, with pedestrians accounting for 31 percent of all deaths and cyclists 11 percent.

It is estimated that a 5 per cent reduction in speed reduces 30 per cent of fatal road accidents in the country. The proposals on the table are that speed limits should not exceed 50 kilometres an hour in urban/built-up areas, and where motor traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists, the speed should be below 30 km/h.