State-owned public transporter, Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), has started dual, and at times triple pricing, but passengers are not happy with the company’s disregard for official exchange rates.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city after Harare, ZUPCO buses and kombis were accepting payment in Zimbabwe dollars, US dollars and South African Rand.
Commuters were paying R10 or US$1 for kombis while buses were charging R5 or US$1 for two passengers per trip while those paying in local currency were being charged $50 and $30 for kombis and buses, respectively.
However, the official exchange rate for the local currency to the US dollar is 1:83, while the Rand to the US dollar is 1:15.
Passengers who spoke to the Chronicle on Thursday complained that forex charges were higher than those in local currency. One Adam Sibanda of Nkulumane said:
In local currency, a kombi is $50 and US$1 in forex. If we use the official rate, a person who pays in forex would have paid about $80. It is the same with the rand to US rate. Zupco is using 1:20 but the official rate is about 1:15.
This makes it more expensive if one uses the Rand compared to the US dollar.
Commuters called upon the government to look into the forex fares issue as the forex rate is not attractive for commuters. Priscilla Moyo of Entumbane said:
These fares should be adjusted so that those who pay in forex are not short-changed.
Bulawayo residents not only bemoaned the exorbitant fares in forex but also raised the issue of change, with passengers being given change in Zimbabwe dollars when they had paid in US dollars or South African Rand.