The Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST) is very encouraged by Transport and Communications Minister Hon. Brian Mushimba, MP, for using public transport during weekends in preference to riding in his Ministerial vehicle.
Minister Mushimba was last Sunday pictured in a minibus and quoted by the media saying that he was very happy that he had taken the ride on the bus because it was an eye opener to do something about public transportation, under his ministry’s holistic and comprehensive umbrella of improving and uplifting public transportation in our country.
As ZRST, we are concerned that public service vehicles in Zambia are paced with rowdy and unruly drivers who pay little to no attention to the traffic rules. The minibuses are overcrowded, lacking in space and information, are clamped and often uncomfortable and those who ride in them are seen to have no other better alternatives. The alternative model use of private vehicles has increasingly resulted in congestion, poor mobility and air pollution. The government and other stakeholders have in the past tried to bring sanity to this industry, little or nothing has changed.
ZRST mission is to see an improvement in public transport safety and comfort with less pollution. Research shows that most of the traffic deaths and injuries occur by public service vehicles, either as passengers, drivers or even passing pedestrians. Over 2206 people were killed in 2016 on Zambian roads, an increase of nearly 100 percent since 2010.
Chairman for the Zambia Road Safety Trust Daniel Mwamba said:
“When it comes to public transport services in Zambia, responsibilities are often ambiguous divided among different agencies (the police, councils, RTSA, RDA, etc) and misaligned goals and complicating policies has led to inefficient resource allocation among ministries.
“As result public transport has suffered, highly represented in traffic accidents, car ownership has increased, public funding is used in ineffective ways and urban and transport planning has become disconnected from another.
“It is for this reason, that we appreciate the minister’s new attitude, and we shall support him in addressing the main ills that our urban transport system current faces in Zambia”.