Mixed feelings over 'Zupco kombis'

 Mixed feelings over 'Zupco kombis'
Published: 14 October 2019
Government's move to open the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise to more private commuter operators has met with mixed feelings, with some viewing the initiative as positive and sceptics ques- tioning its sustainability.

The development comes as Zupco has been overwhelmed by passengers shunning com- muter minibuses, whose fares go up regularly in response to weekly fuel price increases.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators chairperson Cosmas Mbonjani, was sceptical, saying there was no guarantee for kombi owners that the initiative was sustain- able.

"When the Zupco initiative was first introduced, the government did not treat us well. We were sidelined and relegated to the periphery and we lost out on business.

"However, they are now asking commuter operators to commit to Zupco and get subsidised fuel because they have failed.

"We all know that Zupco has collapsed several times and when that happens again, where will that leave the commuter operators who have joined this initiative?" Mbonjani asked.

He said the move was meant to divide commuter bus operators as Zupco was approaching individuals and avoiding their associations.

"What we have heard from

our association representatives is that Zupco is calling individual kombi owners and striking deals with them, offer- ing them $500 per day.

"I think this is a move to try and divide us as commuter operators and weaken our busi- nesses because Zupco has just realised that it cannot manage the long queues in town," Mbonjani said.

Bulawayo Residents Association secretary for transport Teresa Nyathi, however, said Bulawayo's kombi asso- ciations, Tshova Mbaiwa and Bulawayo United Public Trans- porters' Association, welcomed the invitation to join Zupco.

"We held a meeting with the associations about joining Zupco and they expressed interest because the constant fuel price increases are affecting them and their business.

"Our main concern is that government should ensure this programme is sustainable and doesn't fail and leave people stranded," Nyathi said.

Meanwhile, Passengers Association of Zimbabwe president Tafadzwa Goliath said the organisation welcomed the development, which will benefit commuters who are now struggling to afford ever- rising transport fares.

"This is a welcome development because many passengers are facing a hard time, with commuter omnibus operators charging high fares.

"This is an indication that government has finally realised it cannot manage on its own," Goliath said.

He added that the safety of passengers had been compromised as people were no longer worried about their safety or that of their belongings as their focus was on finding cheap and

affordable transport. "Commuters are now resort-

ing to boarding any car or bus that comes their way in a bid to cut costs.

"This has exposed them to risks, including robbery and sexual victimisation particularly for women, because they are just getting into cars belonging to total strangers," Goliath said.

"We appreciate what the government is trying to do in alleviating transport problems for people in urban areas, but there is a need to extend this initiative to rural areas where people are struggling to com- mute due to exorbitant fares.

"People are failing to travel even to get medical help because commuter operators in the rural areas are charging high fares due to fuel increases, so it would be prudent for the government to extend this initiative to the rural areas," he said.
- dailynews
Tags: Zupco,


Latest News

Latest Published Reports

Latest jobs