THE Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) will take punitive action against the proprietor of Kapena Bus Services following the death of 19 passengers on board on one of its buses involved in a road accident at a time when it should not have been travelling.
Another 46 passengers were left injured.
RTSA observed that this was not the first time the buses owned by Kapena, abrogated the ban on night travel.
The accident happened between Luangwa Market and the Luangwa Bridge around 21:08 hours, minutes past the last hour by which public service operators must park their buses.
The ban came into effect following increased road traffic accidents involving public service buses which led to a ban on Mazhandu Family Bus Services after an accident on the Great North Road which killed 10 travelers, earlier this year.
In yesterday’s tragic accident, the driver of the Scania bus, registration number ABP 6303, lost control of the East-bound vehicle and overturned as he failed to negotiate a curve around Kacholola area, a bend considered tricky to negotiate even in daylight.
Frequent travellers of the route say it is not uncommon for some carriers to ask passengers to disembark while they negotiate the curve.
The injured people were receiving treatment at Mumpashya and Katondwe Mission hospitals.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed the accident in a statement yesterday.
Ms Katongo said among the dead were three juveniles, six male adults and eight female adults.
The driver of the bus, identified by Ms Katongo, as Matomola Mubyana of SOS area in Lusaka, was among the injured.
“The bodies are being transported to the two mentioned hospital mortuaries,” she said.
Ms Katongo said all the bodies of the deceased had been transferred to Chongwe District hospital.
In another statement, RTSA head of public relations Fredrick Mubanga said action would be taken against Kapena Bus Services for failure to ensure the bus and fleet crew operated within the provisions of the law.
Mr Mubanga said Mr Mubyana and the operator defied the provisions of Statutory Instrument (SI) number 76 of 2016, which restricted the movement of Public Service Vehicles (PSV) at night.
“It has been established that Kapena Bus Services has on several occasions been operating outside the provisions of SI number 76 and the agency has on several instances warned and impounded the operator for violating the law,” Mr Mubanga said.
He urged travelers to report any violations of the SI to avoid road traffic accidents and that the people should refuse being commuted outside the approved driving hours under the law.