RTSA considering Benz Sprinter as replacement for Hiace commuter bus

RTSA chief executive officer Zindaba Soko says they are looking at the Mercedes Benz Sprinter and the Toyota Quantum buses as models to replace the Hiace in three to five years time to make transport safer.

At a media briefing today, Soko said RTSA would engage stakeholders to discuss what model of buses was acceptable.

“For us to see how we can make the transport system safer, we are looking at the period of three to five years. When we talk of a specific model of a bus, we are looking at a model that will have seat belts, enough leg room, enough head room and ventilation so that the severity when there is a crash is reduced on the commuter. We have the Mercedes Benz Sprinter buses and Toyota Quantum buses as part of models that we are looking at. But that will be after members of the public, owners and the major stakeholders have agreed to and strike a balance that this is a better model to go for. After that is done, incentives are given after a period of time to sensitize you to give in your Hiace bus at a cost, so that we use it as a way of moving them out of market. It can’t be something that is immediate or sudden. A transition takes a lot of time but we need to start from somewhere and this is where we are starting,” Soko said.

“We want to do a lot of consultation firstly with the general members of public and then work out models with the Ministry of Finance on how the public can be sensitized to be able to purchase a more reasonable, comfortable and safer bus at the same cost that they are purchasing the Hiace buses.”

He said those who owned Hiace busses had up to January 2019 to ensure that they had seat belts and proper seats.

“There is no issue with those who have already purchased buses which have seats and seat belts. But those buses which were panel runs and have been made into Hiace buses to transport commuters, should have seat belts by January 2019. The option of Hiace minibuses which is here is that they must have correct seats and seat belts. You will find that a bus can come with eight seats [when bought], but then they will remove the eight seats so that the bus can carry 16 people hence causing a safety challenge,” Soko said.

He said that it was unfortunate that the issue of phasing out the Hiace buses was being politicized when it was for the safety of the general public.

“You will agree with me that with the nature of the Hiace minibus once you sit in it, the risk of you dying out of the crash is very high because all the commuters in the bus are squeezed. There is no leg room or head room and the injury rate gets enhanced because of the way that bus is engineered. What has been happening in all these crashes is that even when a crash has happened at a lower speed, you discover that because the passengers are so close to the body of the bus, they will get crashed or injured. So as RTSA we want a model that commuters will enjoy to ride without any problem. It is unfortunate that people have politicized this move when the idea is to make it safe in the country,” Soko said.

“This is a bus that carries goods in other countries and in here we get it and fabricate it to carry commuters. We are trying to sort out this problem which has been a big one because when the economy was liberalized, everybody could come in with whatever business and that was the time that type of transport came in. We had no control measures then to look at what would be the best for the nation.”


Zondiwe Mbewe

About Zondiwe Mbewe

Zondiwe is a vibrant young Zambian journalist who has interest in writing political and current affairs on issues which affect every Zambians. She draws inspiration from journalists who stand for what is right and are not afraid to tell and show the truth to the people.
Email: zondiwe [at] diggers [dot] news

View All Posts

Comment on article

Comment on article:

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

The issue is being politicized because we take a leaf from developed and developing countries the reasons don’t tarry with reality world over.


The Mercedes sprinter and quantum you are taking about don’t even lust, such a policy would be there to plunge transporters in a ditch let me call it a (wina azalila policy)if it’s indeed all about room then it will be appropriate to reduce number of seats and fit them with seatbelts otherwise am afraid minibuses are not even national anthems in accidents.time frame is trying to prove there is an hidden content why RATSA and Government want to be perfect over night?it took south Africa almost a decade to replace those box minibuses.

Phiri Cherlie Mulunda
Phiri Cherlie Mulunda

The replacement of old mini buses will attract transport costs to go high.Currently its an issue of people paying the current bus fare and with the coming of modernized transport system will attract cost and ba muzimai won’t manage paying.In this economy we are looking for cheaper things to sustain our standard of living.Looking at those who already have old Haice, where will they take them? if it took ages to buy an Haice in the current economy,how will one manage buying a Mercedes Sprinter.Lets atleast talk about removing Noah family buses from the transport system.

Phiri Cherlie Mulunda
Phiri Cherlie Mulunda

This is a sign of unemployment creation when the economy is limping.How can someone suggest such a stupid thing.

Send this to a friend