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Bus and Kombi drivers new age limit: Here is what you need to know

Drivers of buses and kombis will need to be at least 30 years old, as part of new proposals to increase the minimum age requirement for all public service drivers, according to The Herald.

The government aims to address the growing number of traffic accidents and fatalities, primarily caused by reckless driving, by raising the minimum age requirement.

The government hopes that by raising the minimum age, only experienced and mature drivers will be operating public service vehicles. This decision is a response to the country’s struggle with over 2,000 road traffic accident-related deaths annually, with irresponsible driving being the primary contributing factor.

During the Question and Answer session in the Senate last Thursday, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona mentioned that the Ministry is exploring ways to align the age limit for individuals driving public service vehicles.

“I am sure the legal department in my Ministry is working with the Attorney General in that regard and we are saying for public vehicles, we were sticking to 25 years and we are now advocating to increase,” he said.

“Within the SADC region, the minimum age is 30 years for public service vehicles and that will then address the overzealousness of some of these drivers that are driving our public service vehicles.”

Minister Mhona expressed concern over the alarming accident statistics, adding that the country cannot sustain the loss of nearly five lives per day.

“We are losing close to 2 000 per annum in terms of fatalities, which is not sustainable and when it comes to the monetary element, we are losing close to US$406 million per year towards fatalities, injuries, hospitalisations and even causing unnecessary burden to beneficiaries,” said Minister Mhona.

In separate interviews, commuters support the proposal to raise the minimum age limit for public service drivers.

“Government should expedite this welcome development,

Mr Ashwin Chigombe from Hopley, Harare, said: “Some of these young bus drivers are reckless on the road, treating public service vehicles like sports cars.”

Ms Molleen Muzekezeke of Glen View 7, said most public service drivers are under 25 and when you try to stop them from speeding, “they either reduce speed to 20km/h or refuse to listen, and sometimes even increase their speed instead”.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) chairman, Mr Ngoni Katsvairo, said: “Experience and maturity come with age, which is why the constitution stipulates that one must be 40 years or older to be considered for Presidential election candidacy.”

However, Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors (ZUDCO) president, Fradreck Maguramhinga said while the proposal was noble, the country does not have a lot of drivers that are over 25-years-old.

“While we understand the need for more mature drivers, we have very mature drivers between 25 and 30 years old,” he said.

“The majority of drivers who are being reckless are below 25 and we propose maintaining the 25-year age limit for small public service vehicles like commuter omnibuses, as drivers tend to prefer heavy-duty trucks and buses once they reach 30.”

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