Dar es Salaam bus owners fined for fare hikes

The operators of 13 buses and minibuses in Dar es Salaam have been fined for over-charging customers following a largescale operation by the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) into illegal fare increases and traffic violations.

The transport authority seized buses belonging to the Shambalai, Saibaba, Mbaazi and Meridian bus companies, as well as some minibus firms which operate between Dar es Salaam and nearby regions such as Morogoro and Tanga.

The swoop, which began on 22 December and was carried out in conjunction with the traffic police, saw bus owners charged fines of up to 250,000/- for traffic offences ranging from fare hikes to lack of seat belts.

Prior to the operation, SUMATRA issued warnings against bus fare hikes in the lead-up to the Christmas season when many residents of Dar es Salaam traditionally head upcountry to their relations.

Local media reported that some passengers had been forced to pay as much as 50,000/- for a single ticket to Moshi in the Kilimanjaro region - more than twice the normal fare.

The bus fare from Dar es Salaam to Moshi is meant to be fixed at 17,000/- for business class, 26,000/- for mini-luxury and 32,000/- for luxury.