Private players in the country’s public transport sector are worried over the government’s decision to revive state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO).
The revival of ZUPCO was accelerated following the January 2019 riots that were triggered in part by exorbitant fares that were being charged by urban transporters.
To that end, the government ordered 500 buses from Belarus, 200 from South Africa and 100 from China as part of its efforts to give a new lease of life to the troubled parastatal.
While addressing crowds at the National Sports Stadium during the 39th Independence Day commemoration, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said:
The commuting public has been at the mercy of errant kombi operators for a long time. Government has now stepped in to alleviate the plight of the commuters through the reintroduction of buses under the banner of ZUPCO.
We are increasing the ZUPCO fleet so that affordable bus services are extended to all areas, especially in rural areas.
A commuter omnibus who spoke to 263Chat, Tinashe Muduwa lamented the coming on board of ZUPCO buses since ShutDownZim. He said:
The coming in of the buses is likely to push us out of business. We realize that since they brought these few buses in Harare after the shutdown in January, we have been forced to adjust our fares but as you know these buses are getting their fuel at a subsidized price and ours is not, so it’s a bit unfair and now the new buses will make it even more difficult.
Meanwhile, Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) president Tafadzwa Goliath welcomed the revival of ZUPCO, saying that such a move would increase competition and improve the quality of service to the commuting public. Said, Goliath:
We want a situation where the pricing and quality of service favour the commuter who has to pay for these services.
Having all kinds of transport modes in the cities will yield competitive pricing and we need even the NRZ to come on board and also offer trains but this should not mean kombis are phased out, they remain very critical but we welcome this competition as it improves the service.
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