Honeymoon over for bus operators

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GOVERNMENT will not tolerate public transporters
who operate without requisite passenger insurance
policies as this often results in it spending large sums
of taxpayers’ money to cover funeral expenses
following road traffic accidents involving buses and
kombis, an official said yesterday.
Civil Protection Unit (CPU) director Mr Madzudzo
Pawadyira said public transporters should shoulder
full responsibility for funeral expences of their clients in
case of accidents.
He said the majority of public transporters took
advantage of Government’s intervention of declaring
horrific accidents national disasters and taking over
burial expenses. Transport operators thus did not feel
the need to obtain comprehensive insurance policies
to cover passengers.
Said Mr Madzudzo: “Public transport operators should
have their insurance policies which cover passengers
in an event of an accident. There has been limited
liability on the part of public transporters and they
were not taking responsibility after an accident.
“This was when Government was chipping in to give
the deceased a decent burial and whoever was
responsible for the accident, we would then make a
claim. That is the provision of the law but there are
always gaps within the law.
“We are saying public transporters should close the
loopholes so that all passengers are covered in the
event of an accident.”
Mr Madzudzo’s remarks come as the Insurance
Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) has entered into an
agreement with Nyaradzo Funeral Company to provide
on- the spot funeral services in the event of death of
passengers in public service vehicles.
According to the council’s chairperson for the public
relations committee, Mrs Grace Muradzikwa, the
agreement, which came into effect on Wednesday last
week, will see Nyaradzo immediately moving onto an
accident scene involving public vehicles to provide
service once they have ascertained that the vehicle
had passenger liability cover.
“For sometime now, we have been concerned with the
lead time it takes to provide services following road
traffic accidents involving insured vehicles,” said Mrs
Muradzikwa.
“Now Nyaradzo can move in while the necessary
paperwork is sorted out later.”
Mrs Muradzikwa said after verifying membership,
Nyaradzo would provide services worth $1 500 for
adults, $1 000 for children above 12 years and below
18 years and $500 for children below 12 years.
“We hope that this will improve the disaster
responsiveness of the industry and also ensure that
victims of road traffic accidents receive decent
burials.”
Mrs Muradzikwa said they were also considering
engaging ambulance service providers to offer
services to the injured in case of accidents involving
public service vehicles as passenger vehicle liability
cover also included some medical expenses.
She appealed to travellers to use public service
vehicles with passenger vehicle liability cover.
“In the same vein, we would also like to appeal to the
Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure that all public
service vehicles have passenger vehicle liability cover
as required by the law,” she said.
Passenger liability cover is an insurance offered to the
owners and drivers of public service vehicles and it
comes into effect when passengers travelling in public
vehicles sustain injuries or die, and a legal claim is
instituted against the insured.
In Zimbabwe, it is a legal requirement that all public
passenger carrying vehicles have passenger liability
cover, which is offered by the Insurance Council of
Zimbabwe through the Special Risks Consortium.
The agreement comes at a time when the country has
experienced a number of accidents involving
passenger service vehicles such as buses and
commuter omnibuses that have resulted in the death
or injury of many passengers, most of whom fail to get
the requisite assistance.
In most cases, Government has had to intervene by
declaring the accidents a state of disaster, while in
other instances deceased passengers have received
pauper’s burials.