Some Zimbabwean nationals living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa have abandoned plans to travel home for Christmas after long-distance bus companies hiked transport fares.
A recent survey by GroundUp has found that two of the three bus companies who transport people from South Africa to Zimbabwe have nearly doubled their fares from the usual R800 to R1,500 for a single trip to Harare from PE.
The three bus companies are DNC Coaches, Red Lion Bus, and Munenzwa Luxury Coaches.
A senior employee for DNC Coaches in Port Elizabeth, Claymond Chiwaka defended the fares hike during the festive season. He said:
The festive season is the time when we make a profit because passengers don’t travel a lot during the year. Our business is down during that period and we are always running at a loss.
However, chairman of the Zimbabwe Migrants Support Network, Chris Mapingure, pleaded with the bus companies to empathise with travellers. He said:
We are shocked and disheartened by this practice of hiking prices during the festive season. Many people failed to travel and spend the holidays with their families because they couldn’t afford the fares.
Most of these people are low earners who can not afford such fares.