By Azania Post Reporter
THE Surface and Marine Transport Regulation Authority in Tanzania (SUMATRA) has started an exercise countrywide to identify owners of two wheeler motorcycle and register them electronically in a move to tackle theft and accidents.
Speaking in an interview Johansen Kahatano who is the Director for road transport regulation at Sumatra said bodaboda operators are facing a lot of challenges which now the government has started to address them.
He said one of the major challenges was an increasing rate of accidents which claim lives of motorists and their passengers daily in the country.
Almost one or two motorists die in road accident daily in the country, this is not good for the country, we have started to register genuine owners of these motorcycle in order to control their movement, he said.
Kahatano said registration of owners would enable the authority to understand drivers and comment on their habits.
He also insisted that no person will be allowed to ferry a passenger with motorcycle or tricycle if they do not have licences that are to be issued to only members of Bodaboda Association.
In a move aimed at improving transport services in Dar es Salaam, last year the authority launched a special programme.
The special programme, titled "Bodaboda and Bajaji New Look in Dar es Salaam", includes registration by using special numbers that will also appear on the special uniforms that the riders will be required to put on.
Speaking during the launch of the programme,the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda was quoted as saying the move will be helpful to passengers using the mode of transportation when faced with any situation that will require getting the identity of the rider.
Using a system similar to mobile money transactions, the passenger will be required to enter the number that appears on the riders' uniform in the 'bodaboda' and 'bajaji' in Dar es Salaam segments, which will bring up the riders' information.
The information that will come up on the mobile phone screen includes the riders' parking area, the parking area leader and the mobile phone number of that person.
The 'bodaboda' and 'bajaji' riders would be issued with the uniforms free of charge complete with helmets for the riders, Makonda said, adding that he is focused on improving the now popular mode of transportation in the city.
The bodaboda business has been growing year after year following the increase of traffic jams in major cities like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza Mbeya and Arusha.
Despite being a solution to traffic congestion, bodabodas have some challenges. Safety and security are not guaranteed.
At least 8,241 road accidents in 2013 involved bodabodas, according to the national traffic report. Of those, 6,831 caused 1,058 deaths and injured 6,578 other people. At least 870 bodaboda riders died in 2013. Bodaboda accidents contributed to 18.5 percent of the total number of accidents in the year.