Zimbabwe News

Govt lifts suspension on 3 bus operators 2 months after fatal crashes

The Government has lifted the suspension on three public transport operators’ licences, Blue Circle, City Bus, and Simlex Coaches, following a review of their operations.

Blue Circle and City Bus were suspended from operating in March this year after a horror crash involving coaches from the two companies claimed 13 lives and left scores injured along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road.

The collision occurred when a City Bus coach, carrying 25 passengers, struck a donkey and veered into the path of a Blue Circle bus with 43 passengers on board, leading to a head-on collision.

Simlex was also ordered to suspend operations in March after one of the company’s coaches was involved in an accident on 9 March, in Western Cape, South Africa, which resulted in the death of 13 Zimbabweans and injuries to 12 others.

The bus was travelling from Harare to Cape Town when it collided with a haulage truck along the Hex River Pass, approximately 140 kilometres before Cape Town.

Addressing journalists in Harare, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said that the three companies had multiple breaches of license terms and conditions. He said:

Swaymo Enterprises Pvt Ltd runs Blue Circle while City Bus is operated by Wipeco Investments Pvt Ltd.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development wishes to advise members of the public that it has lifted the suspension of the licences for operation of all omnibuses belonging to Swaymo Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd; Wipeco Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Simlex Coaches (Pvt) Ltd with effect from 3 June, 2024.

The said operators breached the terms and conditions of the licenses issued to them, leading to fatal road crashes that occurred on 9 and 16 March 2024 in Western Cape, South Africa, and in Beitbridge respectively.

They operated public service vehicles without valid motor and passenger insurance, certificates of roadworthiness, road service permits, installed speed monitoring and limiting devices, and employed drivers without the requisite competencies.

According to a statement posted on the Ministry’s X page, all transport operators will be placed under heightened “Compliance monitoring”, using ICT tools to track compliance each time they pass through toll checkpoints. Said Mhona:

Going forward bus operators will be placed on a Compliance Monitoring Programme to continually assess adherence to regulatory requirements and further reiterated that the Ministry will make use of ICT tools to monitor compliance of all transport operators to ensure regulatory violations are recorded in real-time as vehicles pass through tolling points.

Hon Mhona further condemned the recent acts of public violence at bus loading bays and ranks in Mutare saying such actions severely impact on safety and security of commuters, bus crews, and members of the public, especially children, women, and people with disabilities.

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