14 Jan 2017 11:10am
OSHAKATI, 14 JAN (NAMPA) - The Namibia Transport Reform Association (NTRA) has said travellers are forced to sleep at bus terminals because of a bus shortage exacerbated by how long it takes to get a permit.
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, NTRA president, Victoria Kauluma noted that even though there are many business people with roadworthy buses willing to transport long distance passengers, they are unable to operate without an approved permit.
I have on many occasions requested for temporary permits for drivers with buses ready to transport people to their different destinations, however we have not received any response from Roads Authority (RA) yet, said Kauluma.
She said at times, applications for driving permits take about a year to be approved, which worsens the situation.
Passengers on their way back to Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund flocked to the Oshakati bus terminal last Friday in search for transport, however most could not depart on the intended day.
We have registered over 4 000 passengers since the weekend alone and the situation was bad, she added.
Contacted for comment on Thursday, RA Chief Executive Officer Conrad Lutombi said the application for a permit could take three months or sometimes even longer - as there are a number of steps involved.
The process goes through the Office of the Prime Minister to the RA's Transportation Board members, who work in accordance with the Government Transport Act of 1977, which looks at the reasons why the permit is being applied for, the routes on which the driver wants to operate, as well as feedback and contributions from drivers already operating on the road, said Lutombi.
He noted the RA does not issue temporary permits, however the cross-border transport permits can be issued within 24 hours.
If you have not received approval from RA to operate your vehicle over long distances, it means your application has been disqualified due to a number of reasons, some of them being that the applicant has applied for more than the recommended number of routes, objections from any of the road users or if the road is too saturated with many drivers operating on that road, he said.