Arusha. Majority of passengers who use public transport here, often fall victim to accidents caused by reckless driving and at times get mistreated by drivers or owners of vehicles because they don’t know their rights.
"They are not aware of measures to take against the drivers or owners of the vehicles behind risky reckless driving", said an official of the Surface and Marine Transport Authority (Sumatra) Luke Daniel.
Speaking during a meeting aimed at sensitizing the public on how to minimise road accidents, the official said it was not uncommon to find passengers unable to do anything against erring drivers.
The meeting, which drew scores of petty traders and commuters, took place at the Kilombero wholesale market in Arusha.
The Sumatra authorities say it was high time passengers realized that they have the right to report drivers who speed vehicles beyond limit and bus conductors misbehaving or mistreating them so that they can face the full force of the law.
Sumatra's consumers' consultative council (CCC), decided to conduct series of campaigns to sensitize the public on what they can do when they fall victim to reckless driving.
The campaigns are being undertaken by the transport regulatory authority in collaboration with a lobby group for the rights of the passengers in the northern zone regions (Chakua).
The secretary of the association in the zone, Godwin Mpinga said they have sensitized the passengers on their rights, including demanding tickets once they had paid fares.
This, according to him, would enable them to demand refund once the trips are cancelled or during a breakdown of the buses they were supposed to travel in.
Chakua's secretary for Arusha region,Heri Baton emphasized the need for work contracts between the bus owners and the drivers and conductors they have hired, noting that it was unlawful to deny their employees of the contracts.
One of the bus operators in Arusha Abdulmajid Ahmed echoed the advice from the Sumatra officials, citing several cases where passengers have been dropped before reaching their destinations.
In such events, others end up being robbed of their possessions as well as being denied refund of the fares. "All this is because they are not aware of their rights", he pointed out.