“It’s high time passengers made it their business to find out if a vehicle is fully insured before they get on board. It’s about their lives. If all passenger passengers board a bus or kombi with passenger insurance cover no one will be given a pauper’s burial,” PAZ
By Donald Chidoori
A lobby group wants passengers to only board vehicles with passenger insurance cover as this would protect them in case of an accident.
The call comes after a snap survey by the lobby group showed that, most public transport operators and ‘mushika shikas’ have failed to insure the travelling public through the Passenger Personal Accident Policy (PPAP).
Passenger insurance cover is a statutory requirement for passenger carrying vehicles. “However failure to have such cover puts the lives of passengers at risk in the event of accidents,” says Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ).
The lobby group is worried by the alarming number of unlicensed and uninsured passenger vehicles in the country’s highways and cities. PAZ says that the heavy police presence has failed to deter the ever increasing number of these unregistered vehicles on the streets and highways.
“For example, Seke road has claimed a lot of lives in recent years and months, it has heavy police presence but buses, and kombis continue to operate illegally, without proper documentation, or proper insurance cover. They seem to find a way past all these roadblocks day in and day out, this has resulted in accident victims failing to get assistance from bus and kombi operators,” PAZ said.
According to the law, all passenger carrying vehicles must have two types of cover;
comprehensive cover for damage to the carrier in the event of an accident and secondly,
Passenger Liability Cover which covers the travelling public.
According to the law Police should not allow a passenger carrying vehicle on the road if it does not have either of the two covers.
“As PAZ we are concerned with the site of ‘police presence’ at most illegal pickup points, are the to protect the passengers or not because touts and these kombis are a menace and police just standby and watch as if everything is normal. These vehicles do not have proper documents that allow them to carry passengers and as such should not be allowed on the road,” said Tafadzwa Goliati, founder and president of PAZ.
PAZ also said that while the police were critical in ensuring that laws and regulations are followed it was the responsibility of passengers themselves to ensure that the public transport vehicles they use are registered and properly insured to protect themselves in the case of an accident.
PAZ said that the law was clearly not protecting passengers, as passenger rights continue to be trampled on. The lobby group said that passengers are overloaded, often mistreated by touts and travel without proper insurance cover.
“Just a few weeks ago a passenger was killed by touts along Robert Mugabe Road near the Fourth Street bus terminus for exercising their right to choose a bus they want to travel with,” said Tafadzwa Goliati.
Mr Goliati said that it was high time passengers start to demand their rights to be respected and the first step was boarding those passenger vehicles with passenger insurance.
“We implore members of the public to only use registered and licensed public transport vehicles, at legal bus-stops or ranks, and totally avoid public vehicles without passenger insurance,” said Mr Goliati.
Mr Goliati said passengers should check for a PPAP disc before they board a passenger vehicle. He said the disc is displayed the same way the vehicle licence is displayed and should have a date of expiry.
Tafadzwa said that PAZ had joined hands with the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, to complement the efforts of short-term insurers to encourage the uptake of insurance cover by public transport operators .
“We have engaged the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe on an awareness campaign primarily for the passenger insurance cover. We are sure that this will enhance efforts to reduce the number of victims of road traffic accidents who are not assisted with insurance,” said Tafadzwa Goliati, founder and president of PAZ.
The call by PAZ for members of the public to only board public transport with passenger insurance cover, comes as the government is mooting an idea to establish a Road Traffic Accident Fund which will help compensate victims of RTAs. The government is being forced to establish the fund as it forced to foot the bill of burials for victims of RTAs.
In the event of the death of passengers, under the passenger insurance cover facility, Nyaradzo Funeral will provide three classes of services ; adults above 18 years — $1,500; children above 12 years — $1,000; children below 12 years — $500.
Why then should the government step in to provide assistance for the dead when there is a facility that deals with such (the passenger liability cover) asked PAZ.
“It’s high time passengers made it their business to find out if a vehicle is fully insured before they get on board. It’s about their lives. If all passenger passengers board a bus or kombi with passenger insurance cover no one will be given a pauper’s burial,” concluded Mr Goliati.