Passengers deserve better, bus operators told

Bus operators should ensure their vehicles are fit and road-worthy for the safety and comfort of travellers, says Mazhandu Family Bus Services public relations manager Lombe Machilika.

Ms Machilika said it was unfortunate that operators allowed vehicles that were unroadworthy to ferry passengers despite the dangers posed.

She was commenting on the recent incident where some passengers on a named bus almost suffocated, and were hospitalized after the air conditioning system allegedly switched off on a Lusaka/Nakonde route.

“If you are ferrying people, ensure that your vehicle is properly serviced by qualified mechanics and at well-equipped garages so that the staff can detect any possible problems.

It is your responsibility as the transporter to ensure that the air conditioning system is working, the seats are working, and that all other functions on the bus are working,” she said.

She explained that a bus service was a matter of life and death and those running the business must ensure that their vehicles were fit and comfortable.

And Ms Machilika has advised passengers to check the quality of buses they were boarding to avoid riding on unroadworthy vehicles.

She said people should opt for buses with windows that open, as well as seats that were adjustable instead of being forced on uncomfortable vehicles.

Meanwhile, Mazhadu has introduced customer advisory packages via audio and visual programmes transmitted on their buses while in transit.

Ms Machilika said the operator, in collaboration with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RSTA) , is producing programmes on road safety awareness.

“We broadcast road safety programmes via audio and visual programmes on Mazhandu Radio and Mazhandu Television used on our buses while in transit.

‘’We are the only transporter with this initiative.  Our conductors, whom we call ‘bus hosts’ are highly trained to guide our passengers on the ‘dos and don’ts as well as basic safety rules like fastening of seatbelts and environmental friendly awareness tips and cleanliness on the bus,” she said. Some passengers almost suffocated on a Lusaka-Nakonde bus in the early hours of Tuesday  when the air conditioning system on the bus failed.