By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The Zimbabwe government remains stuck in its effort to combat transport shortages in Harare despite the introduction of the ‘many’ Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses.
During peak hours, transport to and from different parts of the capital has remained a ‘real life nightmare’.
While government says it is making efforts to recapitalise Zupco, with the recent consignment of 65 buses from China being the latest, citizens continue to cry foul over the unfair treatment at the hands of private transport operators.
Privately-owned transporters are increasing fares at the drop of a coin.
Nehanda Radio understands that on Monday, 20 Golden Dragon buses arrived on the Zimbabwean side of Beitbridge Border Post, while others are expected late today (Tuesday).
In an effort to understand the intricate nature of Zupco’s transport enterprise, Nehanda Radio interviewed the organisation’s tapcard holders.
Loreen Chironga, who stays in Kuwadzana, told Nehanda Radio that the Zupco idea – though good – fell far short on the implementation side.
“The idea of people having Zupco buses is good in so far as it is supposed to help reduce the burden on transport fares.
“The problem – though – is on the scarcity of these buses. I’m talking about a situation where I’m forced to be in a queue for up to three hours daily.
“With such a situation, I will again be forced to go back to private transporters and be charged $10 when I could pay a $1 when using Zupco,” Chironga said.
Simbarashe Dube, a Harare teacher, said boarding Zupco buses was not good for business.
“I have purchased a tapcard; I have put money in it but waiting for Zupco buses to come and pick me up needs a lot of patience.
“These buses do not have a stipulated timetable.
“Sometimes you can even wait for the bus that is not coming, and it is inconvenient for business,” Dube said.
Nehanda Radio understands that more than 1 000 Zupco buses have so far been acquired from China, and they are being delivered in batches.
It costs between ZW$60 and ZW$100 to travel by bus from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls or Bulawayo to Harare on a Zupco bus.
Local commuter operators in the country’s resort town of Victoria Falls charge ZW$4 per trip between suburbs and town, a far cry from the reasonably priced Zupco buses. Nehanda Radio