Bus and combi operators are reportedly withdrawing their vehicles from the ZUPCO franchise scheme because the government is failing to adequately pay them, The Standard reports. This could cause a serious transport shortage as ZUPCO is overwhelmed by demand since the government is yet to allow private transporters to ferry people since the government imposed an indefinite lockdown in May.
This was revealed by the Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibus Operators secretary-general Ngonidzashe Katsvairo who revealed that the association had written to ZUPCO and the government about the prospect of increasing their fees but the government and ZUPCO did not respond to the letters:
We are engaging and negotiating with authorities regarding challenges at Zupco.These include late payments, late review of hire fees and how we can deal with the hyperinflation that is threatening to stop the wheels from turning.
As operators, we have reached a situation where we are unable to service or maintain the vehicles, posing great risk to passenger safety. We have forwarded possible solutions to these challenges to Zupco and the Local Government ministry, but we are yet to receive a response.
Another transporter who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity said;
The transport operators in the Zupco scheme are fed up with the delays in reviews of their contract payments which are currently too paltry.
Some have begun parking their kombis and not reporting for duty citing reasons like write-off, punctures and lack of foreign currency to replace tyres. Dozens others from across the country’s cities have in fact started pulling out permanently.
When contacted for comment, ZUPCO CEO Evaristo Madangwa said they will communicate with transporters when they are ready.
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