Some residents of Marondera town have devised an unusual plan to catch the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus before it leaves for Harare early in the morning.
The residents who work in Harare, now sleep in the bus as the only ZUPCO bus plying the Marondera-Harare route leaves the town at 6 am.
A commuter who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com, identified as Muchaitei Simboti had this to say:
I stay in Cherutombo suburb, some 5km from the town but working in Harare. There is no public transport where I stay until after 06:00 hours.
So for me to be able to catch the Zupco bus, I have decided to come into town around midnight and sleep in the bus.
Another commuter said he was grateful that the ZUPCO crew had allowed them to sleep in the bus and were able to get to work on time, though it was a bit comfortable. He said:
Although it is a bit uncomfortable to sleep in the bus, the gesture made by Zupco in providing a daily bus service has been helpful as we are now able to somehow budget our salaries even though prices for other basic commodities are on the increase.
We hope the government will be able to intervene as they did in the public transport sector.
A member of the ZUPCO crew who did not reveal his identity said that it is against company policy to allow them to sleep on the bus but it would be inhumane to let them sleep in the cold. He said:
At first we were reluctant to let people sleep in the bus as it is against company policy but a number of commuters would, however come and sleep outside.
With the winter temperatures in this town, we felt it was only humane to allow them to sleep inside the bus and not miss it in the morning.
ZUPCO reintroduced its buses early this year following deadly riots that were caused by a fuel hike which made public transport too expensive for the majority of people.
The ZUPCO buses charge very low fares compared to privately-owned public transport commuter omnibuses.
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