Sumatra hikes bus, train fares

Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) has agreed to a 2011 request by bus owners to hike fares from 300/- to 400/- for adults and from 150/- to 200/- for students with effect from April 12, this year.
 
Sumatra has also agreed to increase train fares after the Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) filed an application on February 21, 2012 to that effect by 25 per cent for first and second class and 50 per cent for third class, said Sumatra Acting Director General, Mr Ahmad Kilima.

"We agreed to increase the fare by 24.4 per cent and not the 149 per cent that the bus owners had wanted and we concurred that there are increased costs of operation and food prices had also increased," he said.

Mr Kilima said that 400/- would be charged from the city centre and Kariakoo to the outskirts of the city like Ubungo and that 450/- would be charged for routes covering between 11 and 15 kilometres like from Mwenge to Temeke.

500/- will be charged for between 16 and 20 kilometres routes like Tabata Chang'ombe to Kivukoni, 600/- between 21 and 25 kilometres routes like from Pugu Kajiungeni to Kariakoo and 750/- for between 26 and 30 kilometres routes like from Kibamba to Kariakoo.

He said that there were also fare hikes for upcountry buses where there is now a 20.3 per cent increase for ordinary buses, 16.9 per cent for semi-luxury and 24.2 per cent for full luxury buses."The new approved rates for passengers per kilometre for paved roads is now pegged at 36.89/- as compared to the previous 30.67/-," he said.

The new approved rates per passenger per kilometre for upcountry buses is 46.11/- for ordinary buses on unpaved roads, 53.22/- for semi-luxury and 58.47/- for luxury buses.

The authority also directed owners of upcountry buses to stop using touts to sell tickets, to adhere to tariff regulations which require them to keep revenue and expenditure records for auditing purposes and to abide by the laws, regulations and conditions of their licences and charge fares according to the grade of the buses.

For commuter buses, Sumatra directed bus owners to ensure all passengers are issued tickets, to stick to their routes and refrain from diverting, to stop using touts and for all drivers and conductors to wear clean uniforms and stop the current practice of sharing dirty clothes.

"The problem of touts is an ongoing one and collective efforts are needed to do away with them. The task should start with the owners of the bus stops and that is people from the city council but authorities like the police, Tanroads, Sumatra, law abiding citizens, local government and bus owners have to work together," he said.

On increased train fares, Sumatra approved the 25 per cent increase for first and second class, meaning that a passenger travelling from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro now pays 21,100/- from 16,852/-, 34,700/- to Dodoma from 27,788/-, 54,800/- to Tabora from 43,859/- for first class.

For second class to Morogoro it is 16,600/- from 13,280/-, to Dodoma it is 26,400/- from 21,092/- and 40,500/- to Tabora from 32,605 while fares for third class have increased by 44.1 per cent, meaning that one going to Morogoro is charged 8,800/- from 6,138/- previously, to Dodoma 13,500/- from 9,374/- and 20,400/- from 14,173.

Sumatra board called on TRL to adopt passenger management information system to simplify ticketing and revenue collection from passengers within a year and improve internal revenue control system within three months and improve passenger services.

A total of 19 marine services and ship dues for sea ports have also been reviewed by Sumatra and ordered that charges on deep sea vessels be increased by 34.3 per cent, coastal vessels charges be increased by 12.7 per cent which would enable coastal shipping to complete with road transport services and promote utilisation of Mtwara and Tanga ports.

Mr Kilima also said that handling charges for bulk liquid be approved as proposed by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), taking into account regional competition.

The marine services and ship dues that have been approved include pilotage where a vessel entering or leaving the port would be charged 5.50 US Dollars from the previous 4.15 US dollars and not 7.50 US dollars as proposed by TPA.

Other dues are port dues, navigational dues, dockage, tug services, mooring and unmooring services, garbage disposal, laid-up ships, licences and fees, private mooring, handling charges for bulk liquid, hire lighters and pontoons as well dues for coastal vessels.

"Sumatra has ordered TPA to improve customer care by setting up a unit and client's service charter, should adhere to agreed performance benchmarks, acquire specialised equipment and improve cargo safety and security measures," he added.
Source: The Daily News, www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Masembe Tambwe in Dar es Salaam
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