The Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) bowed down to pressure and resistance from passengers by reducing unbearable bus fare charges which the sole public transport provider had increased by one hundred percent two weeks ago.
The increase was resisted by most commuters as they opted for other affordable mode of transport with illegal pirate combis taking advantage of the situation which saw the public transport provider reducing bus fares from ZWL$60 to ZWL$40 for 0-20km, ZWL$90 to ZWL$60 for 21-30km and, ZWL$110 to ZWL$80 for 31-40km respectively.
The increase had pushed commuters to use trucks, lorries, illegal pirate combis and private cars for public transportation. This saw ZUPCO buses failing to get customers to the extent that a 70 seater bus was now carrying less than half of its capacity as passengers shun them due to the unaffordable fares.
“It is better to use mushika-mushika as it costs 60ZWL than a bus which costs ZWL90. The buses are expensive for me and to make matters worse they are in short supply and not efficient”, said a Highfields man.
Last week Mabvuku-Tafara ZUPCO Passengers engaged the Ministry of Local Government and Public works to review the bus fares downward. “A thorough market survey by your office will help come up with a fair, feasible and sustainable increase …and we pray that your good offices will facilitate downwards review sooner rather than later” read part of the correspondence.
Since the introduction of the ZUPCO monopoly a year ago in response to the COVID pandemic by the government, passengers have been lamenting over poor service provision by the sole public transport provider.
The status of public transport has seen thieves operating illegal pirate taxis preying on desperate passengers with most women falling victim to these thieves.
CHRA implores the ZUPCO and the government to expedite the increase of buses in urban areas and facilitate Local Authorities to provide public transport for their cities and towns as provided by the Urban Councils Act.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association