By Nqobile Tshili
Government has said Zupco remains profitable despite a 50 percent reduction in bus fares.
A distance of up to 30km is now pegged at 75 cents from $1,50 while a distance of up to 40km has been reduced to $1 from $2 for commuters using Zupco buses.Local urban routes now cost 50 cents from $1.
Acting Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Professor Amon Murwira said efficiency in Zupco’s computerised payment system will eliminate any financial leakages making the parastatal profitable.
The Minister was responding to legislators in Parliament during Wednesday’s National Assembly’s Question-and-Answer session.
Prof Murwira, who is the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, said employment of technologies will improve the running of businesses in the country.
“Most of the prices that we charge are due to the inefficiencies in the collection systems. So, through the Harare Institute of Technology helping Zupco, we have developed a tap-and- go system with a card which is a recharge card that you can put money in advance and be able to use that and I was very happy to see Hon (Temba) Mliswa buying that card at Zupco,” said Prof Murwira.
“With this card there is no need for the customer to carry cash anymore. You will be having the card which has money in advance and then you can use it every time. It therefore means 0.50 cents, according to calculation, can make a big bus make profit.
“The transport in this country is overpriced. We are proving through technology that we can have proper prices. So, I think that is basically the issue of introducing efficiencies using technology at Zupco. This is why we say Zupco will make profit even at 0.30 cents.”
He said fuel prices have no direct impact on bus fares.
“We are repeating the fact that the price of a bus fare has nothing to do with the price of a litre of fuel but it has something to do with the efficiency with which we collect money and running of the system.
“So through this e-system, we are really looking forward to a situation whereby business does not over-profiteer or under profiteer based on the efficiency of their collection system. So, we are basically tackling the collection system and this collection system will make it very efficient and sustainable,” Prof Murwira said.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said Government was performing its social responsibility duties.
“My response to this is that governments take on social responsibility roles worldwide. If you look at the mass public transport systems across the world, they are subsidised by the government and that other cost is absorbed by the government to make sure that there is efficient movement by the people.
“So, I am not sure which part of the policy it is where Government is subsidising transportation to ensure that people move freely, whether that can be taken as a bad policy,” said Ziyambi. The Chronicle