Commuters shun ZUPCO, opt for illegal private kombis
Bulawayo commuters are now shunning Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses preferring illegal private kombis which are cheaper than those charged by the state-owned transport company.
ZUPCO, this week, hiked its fares by 100% citing soaring operational costs.
Bus fares were previously pegged at $30, but now cost $60 per trip while fares, which were previously pegged at $45 now cost $90 per trip.
Commuter omnibus fares which were previously pegged at $50 have been increased to $80 per trip.
Residents who spoke to New.Zimbabwe.com complained the new fares are beyond the reach of most workers already walloping in abject poverty.
“I have now resorted to boarding private kombis which are charging a fare of $50. I am also surprised that ZUPCO continues to increase its fares when the government is subsidising it as part of its social obligation,” one commuter, Brian Sunduza, said.
“The government claims it reintroduced ZUPCO’s monopoly as private-owned kombis were ripping commuters. But look, who is now short- changing commuters?”
Another Cowdray Park commuter, Anesu Chakanyuka also bemoaned the latest fare increases saying they will negatively impact the welfare of workers.
“Before the latest fare increase, ZUPCO was failing to cope up with demand due to obsolete fleet and reduced carrying capacity because of Covid-19 restrictions.
I would prefer boarding cheaper and faster private kombis than the expensive the ZUPCO buses which are not even Covid-19 safe,” said Chakanyuka.
Bulawayo Vendor and Traders Association (BVTA) said the fare increases were also likely to hit hard its members.
“As BVTA, we are concerned about the timing of the fare increases. The country is under Level 4 lockdown and this increase is the last thing which commuters especially vendors can contemplate.
“Due to reduced business because of the lockdown, most vendors will not afford the new bus fares. We are likely to see a surge in muggings of our members because some members have resorted to walk to work, and markets because they cannot afford the new fares,” said BVTA director Michael Ndiweni.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has also condemned the increases.
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