Over 1 800 arrested in route permits enforcement operation
More than 1 800 people have been arrested countrywide during the enforcement of route permits and timetables on intercity routes as Government and the police intensify the crackdown targeting bus operators who use fake route permits and those not following their timetables.
The operation comes after police recently expressed concern over the conduct of some public service vehicle drivers who are not complying with the timetables set down on route permits, resulting in such drivers being dragged into dangerous and reckless road races for passengers.
Government noted that some of the operators were using fake route permits and warned that the law will take its course against such errant operators.
On Monday alone, police arrested a total of 271 bus drivers and operators during the ongoing operation bringing the cumulative arrests to 565 for this offence.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said on Wednesday another 711 people were arrested while police enforced route permits and timetables for public service vehicles.
“This brings the cumulative figure of arrests to 1 805,” he said.
Last week, Asst Comm Nyathi said the enforcement of route compliance and time tables would be done in terms of the Road Motor Transportation Act
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has noted with concern the conduct of some public service vehicle drivers who are not complying with timetables on route permits, resulting in the drivers being dragged into dangerous and reckless road races for passengers,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“This conduct has resulted in road traffic accidents in some instances.
“In a bid to ensure compliance with road traffic rules and regulations by public service vehicles, the Zimbabwe Republic Police will with immediate effect heighten enforcement on compliance with route permits and time tables.
“Owners of public service vehicles are, therefore, advised to adhere to the dictates of their route permits and time tables forthwith. We appeal to public service vehicle owners to cooperate with police officers to ensure sanity prevails on the roads.”
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development permanent secretary Engineer Theodius Chinyanga said his ministry was involved in the joint operation with the police.
“We have a department called the Road Motor Transport which is responsible for issuing out route authorities for intercity buses,” he said. “We have realised that within the sector, there are fake route authorities that do not bear our security markings, but that are not very easy to detect.
“So, there will be joint operations with the police and our RMT plucking out those fake route authorities that some bus operators obtained, we don’t know how. I think once we clean it up people will have operators and drivers with genuine route authorities and people will stick to their routes.”
On what action would be taken against the offending operators, Eng Chinyanga said the law will take its course and if it was neccesary to suspend them, government would do so.
“Of course, the law will have to take its course, this is why we are jointly conducting this with the police,” he said. “We are also looking at the law, whether it’s the punishment is deterrent enough or we would then appeal to Parliament to revise so that whatever the law says and meets out is deterrent enough for would be offenders.”