Licensed taxis see red over pirates

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:37:31 +0000

SOME taxi drivers have accused the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) of failing to control pirating taxis and vehicles that were operating without a tax cork in Lusaka.

Shedrick Kamana of Lusaka’s town centre explained that currently there were four kinds of taxis operating on the streets of the capital, apart from the fully registered ones with the approved reflective ribbons.

But RTSA head of public relations Fredrick Mubanga appealed to the travelling public to use appropriate mode of transport and vehicles that were registered.

He said the regulation was aimed at addressing the concerns regarding pirate taxis that were being used for the conveyance of passengers on hire without being licensed.

Said Mr Kamana: “We have four types of taxis on the road: registered taxis with red plates and ribbons, with uniformed drivers; the blue painted vehicles with red plates but no ribbons.

“The other is the unregistered pirate taxis and now the Miles Sampa yellow Metro Cabs without red plates, no ribbons and drivers do not wear uniforms,” he said.

Mr Kamana said only registered taxis paid taxes to Government and local authorities while the other three categories operated illegally as they did not comply with the laws governing the public transport sector.

He charged that RTSA had allowed illegality in the taxi business because the law was against taxis which failed to formalize their obligations as public service vehicles.

Licensed taxi driver Douglas Mukwale said most unregistered taxis were being driven by unlicensed drivers and had fake licenses, adding that police officers were among the culprits with vehicles operating as unregistered taxis. Mr Mukwale said some customers preferred hiring unregistered cars which encouraged car owners not to register their vehicles.

He said the danger of this was that such taxis often had their drivers murdered by bandits.

There has been an increase in the number of taxis on the streets of Lusaka but only a few were registered as authorized operators.

“The lawlessness on the streets has contributed to the high number of accidents by failure to comply with traffic rules,” he said.

Mr. Mukwale wondered how the agency had managed to apply the law on mini buses but failed to do the same on pirate taxis.

Government was losing huge sums of revenue through taxis operating without road service licenses.


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