Value passengers’ lives, not profits

23 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Value passengers’ lives, not profits Transport operators must be made aware of their responsibilities and the dire consequences of negligence

Your Money, Your Call

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba

IN the wake of a harrowing week that saw the loss of lives in two tragic bus accidents, the country was left grappling with the stark reality of its road safety.

These tragedies, involving the bus ferrying pilgrims returning from Bernard Mizeki College, and the Falcon College bus incident, claimed lives and left countless others injured. Beyond the immediate heartbreak, the nation is forced to confront a harsh reality: a deeply entrenched road safety crisis.

Scrutiny falls not only on the abysmal state of public transportation, but also on the effectiveness of existing regulations and the complex role of passengers themselves.

Are passengers mere bystanders in this crisis, forced to accept overcrowded and potentially unsafe vehicles? Or can they become active participants, demanding better standards from the authorities and transport providers, while also prioritising their own awareness and safety measures on the road?

A pattern of neglect is clearly evident.

The incidents cited are not isolated tragedies but symptoms of a systematic issue plaguing our transport sector. Substandard modes of public transport are compromising travellers’ safety.

For too long, transporters have been shortchanging their customers by providing vehicles that barely meet the minimum safety requirements. The result is a perilous gamble with human lives, where each journey could be a one-way trip to disaster.

In response to such tragedies, we have often witnessed the cancellation of operating licences. While such measures offer temporary solace, they nonetheless fail to address the root cause of the problem or prevent future occurrences.

The pattern is all too familiar — an accident occurs, public outrage ensues, a licence is revoked and life goes on without addressing the major causes of such fatal incidents.

But from the recent horrific road accidents, there is need for a paradigm shift, not reactive policymaking, but proactive prevention measures. The country must shift from a culture of complacency to continuous improvement.

The authorities need to delve deeper into the root causes of these tragedies, be it human error, mechanical failure or infrastructural inadequacies, through thorough analysis.

However, road safety is a shared responsibility. Passengers are no longer bystanders. Empowering them is crucial. Imagine passengers equipped with mobile apps to report unsafe vehicles or overloading!

Equipping buses with technology like GPS tracking and mandatory installation of speed governors can also be game changers.

Enforcement of existing regulations is equally paramount. Having rules is only half the battle; enforcing them with rigour and consistency is key.

Regular inspections using modern technologies, stringent compliance checks and punitive measures for violations are essential.

Only buses meeting the highest safety standards should be allowed on the road. This multi-pronged approach, combining proactive prevention, empowered passengers and robust enforcement, is the path towards a safer transportation system in the country.

Similarly, transport operators must be made aware of their responsibilities and the dire consequences of negligence. Workshops, seminars and training sessions could be instrumental in fostering a culture of safety first.

Passengers too have a role to play in demanding safer travel conditions.

Consumer awareness campaigns can empower them to make informed choices and hold service providers accountable. A well-informed commuting consumer is less likely to tolerate sub-par services.

Investment in road infrastructure is equally critical. Well-maintained roads reduce the likelihood of accidents and enhance overall travel safety. It is an investment in the nation’s future, one that pays dividends in saved lives and bolsters consumer confidence.

The recent tragedies serve as a grim reminder that when it comes to road safety, there is no room for compromise. Transporters must value the lives of their paying customers.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that it is time for the authorities to adopt a proactive stance, one that prioritises prevention over punishment. By doing so, we can hope to avoid repeating history and, instead, pave the way for a safer tomorrow.

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing consultant with a strong passion for customer service/experience. For comments, suggestions and training, she can be reached at: [email protected] or at +263712979461, 0719978335, 0772978335.


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