THE Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) have been implored to introduce a law to stop the usage of unregistered vehicles on public roads.
Some taxi drivers talked to accused RTSA of failing to control pirating in the transport sector which had continued to grow at alarming rate. Mr Derrick Musonda of Lusaka’s town centre explained that currently there were four kinds of taxis operating on the streets including the fully registered ones with the approved reflective ribbons.
“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 unregistered pirate taxis and now the Miles Sampa yellow Metro Cabs without red plates, no ribbons and drivers do not wear uniforms,” he said. He 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. He said registered taxi drivers had suffered continued harassment for failing to wear the required dress code while pirate taxis had been left alone.
He said most unregistered vehicles were being driven by unlicenced drivers and had fake licences like those unearthed by the Drugs Enforcement Commission in Matero recently.
“We pay K150 every three months in road taxes and another K315 to RTSA as PSV drivers but again just for wearing different colour of shoes we are penalised,” he complained.
Another driver from Kabwata, Mr Aaron Mudenda explained that while it was law for PSV vehicles to put a ribbon across the sides of the vehicle, some transporters have continued with the business without it.
Mr Mudenda said some customers preferred hiring unregistered cars which encouraged car owners not to register their vehicles as taxis.
“It is just the lack of implementation of the law that has allowed all this illegality to prevail,” said Mr Mudenda
There has been an increase in the number of taxis on the streets but only a few were registered as authorised PSV operators. The lawlessness on the streets has also contributed to the high number of accidents and failure to comply with traffic rules and regulations.
They have since appealed to RTSA to protect the registered law-abiding transporters from unfair competition by applying the laws in the public transport.
He wondered how the agency had managed to apply the law on mini buses but failed to do the same with pirate taxis.