POLICE should be more vigilant in dealing with the problem of unlicensed bus drivers in the public transport sector, the Bus Drivers and Taxis Association of Zambia has said.
Association national secretary Sydney Mbewe said efforts to curb the problem have not been as aggressive as they were supposed to be.
Mr Mbewe said the association had noted that the problem was partly due to thenumber of youths entering the public transport sector because it has become a source of easy employment.
“A number of young people have found an easy source of employment driving buses,” he said.
Mr Mbewe however said some of the youths found it challenging to acquire public service licenses because according to the law, one had to be aged 25 to be able to acquire the license.
“ Most of these youths enter the transport sector as early as 16 and have to wait a long time before they can attain the age of 25 in order to acquire a PSV license,” he said.
Mr Mbewe disclosed that the association has already engaged the Ministry of Transport and RTSA on the issue.
He said Government had promised to take the matter to Parliament and consider revising the minimum age for one to acquire a license.
And the association president Tresford Mwila said the number of unlicensed bus drivers has increased.
He said in an interview that there were many drivers operating without licences, and that this posed danger to the public.
The two leaders were reacting to a recent incident involving an unlicensed mini-bus driver who bashed a female police officer along Great East Road.
“The rate at which these drivers are entering the market is alarming,” Mr Mwila said.
He said many of the unlicensed drivers whom he referred to as freelancers, were operating outside council regulated bus stations.
“As an association, we do not entertain them in any of the stations,” he said.
And the association said the process of acquiring a license has been made less cumbersome by RTSA and that it could not be the main cause of the increase in the number of unlicensed drivers.
Recently, a female Zambian police officer, Marjory Moyo, was hit by an unlicensed mini-bus driver at a road block, after she attempted to stop him.