DAILY NEWS SUNDAY 08 MARCH 2009 Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) has announced reduced fares for urban commuter and upcountry buses by between three and 12 per cent effective next Thursday. Sumatra Director General Mr Israel Sekirasa said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the Authoritys board of directors had scaled down the fares at a meeting last week, having considered all factors including fuel prices, costs of spare parts and inflation. In Dar es Salaam we have reduced fares by an average of 12 per cent, which means the relief of 50/- in a route. The shortest routes in the city will charge 250/-, down from the previous 300/-, and 550/- for long routes instead of the the previous 600/-, he said. However, Mr Sekirasa noted that students fare will remain at 100/- until July this year, when the implementation of a new policy that requires students pay half of adults fare will start. For the upcountry buses, Mr Sekirasa said these had been classified under three categories: ordinary carriers; semi-luxury, and luxury rides; the semi-luxury are those with all facilities except toilets, and the luxury buses are those fitted with toilets and all other facilities. He added that the status of the roads along which the buses ply also count as a factor under which the fares are graded. The Sumatra chief said there shall be a reduction of 11 per cent for normal buses that ply tarmac roads -- which implies a relief of up to 26.60/- from previous 30/- for a kilometre, but the fares for same buses travelling on gravel roads shall be reduced by 11.6 per cent, a relief of up to 32/- from previous 37/- per kilometre. There shall be a reduction by three per cent for the semi-luxury buses from the previous 42/- to 40.70/- per kilometre. The reduction of 10 per cent shall apply to luxurious buses this is a relief from previous 52/- to 46.40/- per kilometre, he explained. Mr Sekirasa says the new fares will be published in Sumatras website, while all documents with details about how the figures were worked out will be available in the Authoritys offices for any stakeholder who would like to peruse. He said that commuter bus owners have 15 days from tomorrow to go to the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA), where they can rewrite the current fares all to pasted on the sideboards of their buses. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Dar es Salaam Commuter Buses Owners Association (DARCOBOA), Mr Sabri Mabruk told the Sunday News yesterday that his office had not received any official letter to that effect. I am hearing this for the first time from you I promise to give our stand when I receive an official letter from Sumatra, he said.