The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is seeking to add more private transport operators to join its franchise in a bid to ease the challenges being faced by commuters in urban areas.
Under lockdown regulations that were imposed by the government on March 30 for an initial 21 days but have since been extended by a further two weeks on two different occasions, ZUPCO buses are required to adhere to social distancing guidelines and this has severely affected the busses’ carrying capacity.
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ZUPCO acting chief executive Evaristo Madangwa revealed that the parastatal is looking to double kombis under the ZUPCO franchise. He said:
We have 507 conventional buses and 500 commuter omnibuses (kombis), but they have not been enough to match the demand because the buses are not carrying to capacity.
Conventional buses are carrying 32 people per trip while kombis are managing nine.
We are working to add another 500 kombis and more conventional buses to ease the pressure on the fleet servicing passengers currently.
Kombis and unregistered conventional buses are banned from operating during the lockdown period as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month the Government eased the conditions to allow licensed private conventional buses to resume operations in towns but the operators have been reluctant to take the offer as they are forced to cut their carrying capacity by over 50 per cent.