Mulungushi station facelift long overdue
Published On February 8, 2014 » 3241 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Features
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By MARTIN NYIRENDA –

THE station anchored along Chisokone road is dotted with architectural deformations, a decrepit yet inadequate parking space for buses and an open legroom to accommodate the convenience of a growing population under the radiating sun.
The tarmac at the station has been ripped off, unveiling potholes which collect pools of brown dirty water making one to filter through the hustle and bustle of a congested mass of humanity almost jostling to get on mostly rattling buses, whose seats have been reduced to metal plates or round bars on its edges.
As buses meander in a park-rush genre before loading passengers, especially after 19 hours, the call boys have influence to bar you from boarding any public service vehicle in the rank if you refuse to board an over-loaded inter-city bus.
They forcefully demand exorbitant fees for loading languages of passengers on bus carriers without their consent.
Some bus crews with passenger service vehicles covering a distance of about 15 kilometres out of the Ndola Business District, for instance, charge extra fare when it’s after 19 hours.
In the midst of some call boys shuttling from one position to the other and the rampaging atmosphere, the call boys yell at would-be passengers and passersby enticing them to board buses plying a specific route.
The call boys are high on potent alcohol which was being sold along the corridor opposite Shoprite supermarket on Chisokone Road and around some makeshift stalls dotted around Mulungushi Bus Station.
“The things happening at this station are really out of place. Imagine, the call boys are almost harassing passengers and conductors are drinking Shake Shake and potent alcohol as you can see for yourself.
The police officers are not visible and have failed to manage the volatile situation at the station especially after 18:30 hours despite a police post.
“Now that rains have set in, there is a danger of outbreak of diseases because the place has no waste bins as people through litter almost everywhere.
The market is littered with banana, orange and lemon peels, plastics, Shake Shake empty packs, and disposable alcohol bottles. Pot holes collect dirt water, there is no running water or electricity which also makes movement cumbersome during the night,” bemoans Stella Chungu, a marketeer at the station selling tomatoes and greens.
Faith Kambole, another marketeer from Mckenzie Township, moans about the bedlam especially during peak hours more especially after working hours, arguing: “We have a toilet but it is not enough to cater for the growing population.
The number of people passing through the market has grown and there is need to expand the toilet and connect running water at strategic points around the market.
There is a lot of money generated through levies collected from bus operators but we do not know how the money was being invested in efforts to improve the state of the station which is an eyesore!”
“This place has no shelter to accommodate the travelling public which the council must address because people should have a place where to wait from before boarding the bus especially inter-town buses.
But in its rather noble stride to meet the Ndola residents’ high expectations in the social services delivery realm, as Ndola City Council Relations Manager Roy Kuseka put it, the local authority is brazen out with a host of teething challenges.
“This is a challenge to our daily operations as a service delivery institution. The challenges range from resource inadequacy to residents’ generally shocking attitude towards safe guarding of public infrastructure,” Mr Kuseka begins.
He said NCC undertakes regular remedial or intervention measures to address service delivery challenges fall into two categories – short term and long term, adding: “Narrowing down to your question regarding plans to improve the state of Mulungushi Bus Station, it must be appreciated that the local authority has in the past carried out minimal works at the station aimed at improving the welfare all users of the facility.
“For instance, two ablution blocks have since been constructed to lessen the inconveniences members of the public had to endure. Our wish, nonetheless, is for members of the public not vandalise the facilities which are basically meant to service their needs. Actually acts of vandalism negate socio-economic development as resources are rechanneled to projects already done”.
Further,  a portion of the surface at Mulungushi was worked on not long ago and offending potholes sealed. In fact following the surface rehabilitation works at Masala bus station in December 2013, plans are afoot to expand the works to Mulungushi bus station. Currently the local authority is mobilising resources for the scope or works.
That said, Ndola Council has strongly advocated for the demolition of Mulungushi station and have it replaced altogether with modern infrastructure that will answer the cry of aguish of the travelling public, bus crews and indeed public transport operators.
With this, the Council has already produced detailed engineering drawings (plan) for a modern Mulungushi Bus Station.
The drawing includes, among other facilities that commensurate with such public infrastructure, adequate shelter for a large population of local and inter-town passengers.
Admittedly, the existing structure that goes for a shelter at Mulungushi station is inadequate to cater for the varying needs of a spectrum of stakeholders.
For the reason that the station has an inter-town section means that Ndola Council has to work extremely expeditiously to ensure that facilities at Mulungushi improve for the comfort of local and inter-town users.
Construction of a modern station is expected to start once funding is sourced (from central government) and preliminary works executed.
In the interim, Ndola Council in collaboration with stakeholders such as commuters’ representatives, Zambia Police, liquor traders and bus operators have to work closely to see how best the problems being encountered at Mulungushi can be minimised or eradicated in certain instances.
“Of course the concerns include safety for passengers, abusive conductors and drivers and the illegal sale of alcohol beverages within the station premises.  It should be appreciated that Council alone is incapacitated to adequately work out and advance a permanent solution to these concerns without collaborative contributions, in one way other another, from the mentioned stakeholders who are major players.
“For example while bus operators are in a position to effectively regulate the conduct of their employees (bus crews), police come in handy with reference to the observance and maintenance of law and order. Commuters’ associations can equally supplement sensitisation and education efforts to address negative perceptions public has towards public infrastructure,” quips Mr Kuseka.
As a local authority, NCC has an obligation to enforce requirements of various pieces of the law such as Markets and Bus Stations Act, Liquor Licensing Act Number 20 of 2011, Local Government Act Cap 281, Public Health Act Cap 295 and Street Vending and Nuisances Regulations of 2007.
With massive infrastructural developments taking place in Ndola in the form of upcoming shopping malls and those that have already been constructed such as Jacaranda Mall, Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Kafubu Mall, it is only hoped that NCC should facelift the dented image of the Mulungushi Bus Station.

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