Commuter omnibus operators have expressed incredulity over reports claiming that the government intends to ban private kombis after the coronavirus lockdown.
In an interview with the Zim Morning Post, Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) secretary-general Ngoni Katsvairo opined that the kombis and buses should be allowed to operate under associations and not as individuals to promote an orderly transport system. He said:
What we need post lockdown are major reforms and tighter control and new regulations on the sector than a total ban of the kombis.
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The government must put in place a transport policy and laws to assist with the organisation of those left out of ZUPCO so that they do not come back and operate again as individuals but under associations or companies in order to maintain an orderly and professional transport system.
Katsvairo said private kombi operators are unsure if ZUPCO will be able to absorb the over 50 000 kombis that were plying on the roads across the country before the lockdown was enforced. He added:
Operators are concerned about the capacity of Zupco on how many kombis it will be able to absorb and if Government will be able to subsidise them all. There are over 50 000 kombis countrywide (15000 in Harare alone) upon which over 800 000 crew, mechanics, auto mechanics, food vendors and all their families, as well as the down-stream industry, are dependent on.
Currently, thousands of workers are struggling to travel to and from work under the Level 2 Lockdown measures as the sole transporter, ZUPCO has no capacity to provide adequate transport.