The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Commuter bus drivers and touts cause havoc in Arusha City

Arusha City was in standstill on Monday, July 3, 2023, following a mass boycott of town bus operators protesting against what they claimed to be invasion of tricycles into their trade.

Drivers parked the buses rendering commuters to result into alternative means of transport such as motorcycles, motorized tricycles and even pick-up trucks so as report to work on time amid the Monday blues.

But seeing people using these other types of transport, the bus drivers and their touts took onto the streets trying to stop them from getting onto Lorries, tricycles and motorcycles.

As the result, chaos ensued prompting the police to dispatch its anti-riot Field Force Units to suppress the disarray in the city.

The chaos occurred at the time when Arusha is hosting an important meeting of delegates from 15 African countries attending the 53rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan officially graced the Southern Africa Development Community’s Parliamentarian event held at the Grand Melia Hotel.

The irate protestors were especially happy to learn that the head of state was in the city, knowing their demands will reach the highest level of governance.

More than 500 vans serve as commuter buses in Arusha. They are locally known as ‘Dala-Dala.’

These Combis include Toyota Hiaces, Nissan Caravans (Homy) and Isuzu Comos (Fargo), with capacity to carry between 12 and 18 passengers at seating levels.

Recently, motorcycles known as ‘Boda-Boda,’ have also been serving as ‘taxis,’ carrying people who are in a hurry to reach their destinations as they can thread their way through traffic.

However the introduction of tricycles coming in form of Bajaj from India and TVS from China have been threatening the business of vans as the three-wheeled motorized keep picking their passengers at alarming rate.

Now the town bus operators have applied handbrakes trying to force the authorities to ban the tricycles from operating in town.

Regional and District Authorities are however sitting on the fence because all parties matter, there are 350 registered tricycles in the city.

The Land Transport Authority (LATRA) in Arusha admits having enrolled 350 tricycles for service but also says the number of such contraptions that have been operating in the city could triple that.

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