By Walter Mswazie
Commuter omnibus operators in Masvingo have increased fares in response to the increase in the price of fuel by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) last week.
Zera announced that the price of a litre of petrol had been adjusted from $6.10 to $7.47 while diesel was pegged at $7,19 per litre.
A survey yesterday revealed that a trip to high density suburbs in a commuter omnibus now costs $2 from $1,50 while pirate taxis plying the Rhodene route now charge $3 from $2.50.
A commuter omnibus driver Mr Lovemore Mataruse said, “If we do not increase fares, we can find ourselves out of business, as it is not sustainable to operate at a loss. We are now charging $2 per trip to and from the Location from $1, 50.”
He said the transport business was no longer lucrative as many residents preferred to go to work on foot.
“We do not enjoy hiking fares every time because commuters can not afford that. We no longer get many commuters as a significant number is seen walking to and from work, everyday. We also pay tax to government and municipality for using their rank,” he said.
Mr Lemon Mabhiza who operates a pirate taxi and plies the Rhodene –Town route said he was operating under protest, as transport business was not sustainable given the fuel price increases.
“It is difficult to plan when you are in the transport business. The challenge we have is that the price of fuel triggers high costs of basic commodities and we are found wanting.
“We have also increased the fare to $3 per trip to Rhodene from town from $2.50.When someone hires me as an individual, the person pays $25 per trip,” said Mr Mabhiza. The Chronicle