Govt bans daladalas from Dar city centre By Mkinga Mkinga and Sara John THE CITIZEN All public transport minibuses will be banned from entering Dar es Salaam's city centre from August 1, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) announced yesterday. The decision to bar 16- and 25-seater buses from accessing the busiest section of the city, Sumatra said, was aimed at easing congestion. The Daladalas would have to terminate their journeys outside the central business district. Addressing a commuter bus owners meeting, Sumatra director- general Israel Sekirasa said the order was part of efforts to enforce new transport regulations to ease the traffic flow. In response, Dar es Salaam Commuter Bus Owners Association (Darcoboa) chairman Mabrouk Sabri took issue with Sumatra�s decision to ban minibuses from the city centre, accusing the Government of being unfair to the transporters. Mr Sabri said that in the mid 1990s, they had asked the Government to waive taxes on new buses they wished to import but their request was turned down. Sumatra boss Sekirasa said they had directed the Dar es Salaam City Council to identify the borders of the central business district that would be out of bounds for the public transporters. He said the minibuses were largely to blame for the endemic traffic congestion. Once the task of identifying the boundaries of the city centre is completed no public transport minibus will be allowed to ply there, said Mr Sekirasa. The plan to ban the minibuses, which are commonly known as vipanya, has been in the cards for years, but its implementation has always been a problem. Some minibuses are said to belong to senior government officials. Yesterday, Sumatra also announced a ban on the importation and registration of public transportation vehicles that are more than five years old. This will take effect September 1. Mr Sekirasa said they would strictly enforce the ban to ensure commuter safety. He said Sumatra had informed Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) about the decision and that the two bodies would be instrumental in the implementation of the directive. Mr Sekirasa advised vehicle owners to form groups and pool resources to buy new vehicles. Sumatra's duty, he added, is to ensure quality and effective public transport. The authority, he warned, may be forced to discontinue the registration of individuals with a single vehicle. Bus owners association official Sabri said: It's surprising to hear that Sumatra will ban our minibuses from reaching the city centre from August 1. We feel the Government has not supported us in this industry. He said the Government has been waiving taxes for other investors to import vehicles for their businesses, but has refused to do the same for transporters. He said tour companies have benefited from such preferential treatment. Meanwhile, commuter bus owners have asked Sumatra to raise the fare from Sh250 to Sh350. They said they were seeking a Sh35 per kilometre increase. Mr Sabri said the proposed Sh350 fare would cover a 10-kilometre route. We need a 40 per cent increase at this time, when the whole world is crying over rising fuel prices, Mr Sabri said. Sumatra official Emmanuel Ole Kambainei said commuter bus owners were incurring huge costs because for buying used vehicles, which consume more fuel. You are using poor quality spare parts, and you are not repairing vehicles on time. Worse still, you pay touts on every trip you make, Mr Ole Kambainei said.