Tuesday, 19 May 2020

TRANSPORTERS, ZUPCO MEET AS COMMUTERS ARE STRANDED


Private transport operators yesterday met Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) bosses to thrash out a number of issues including delays in payments and the need to make a timeous review of rates to ensure viability.

Further, the operators deliberated on concerns over double vetting, where buses are checked by the Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) and Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), which they feel is cumbersome.

The private operators are set to have another meeting with Government today. Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation spokesperson, Mr Esau Mupfumi, told The Herald yesterday that the meeting was fruitful.

“Sometimes there is delay in payments, although the money will certainly come. The issue of indemnity is the other one that needs to be addressed as currently operators are maintaining their own buses.

“The review of payment of rates should be done timely and we are now seeking Government intervention on that issue,” said Mr Mupfumi. 

In terms of vetting, Mr Mupfumi said the process was cumbersome as buses and drivers were required to be vetted by the CMED, contrary to statutes, which give the VID that sole responsibility.

Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) secretary general, Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said they were ready to meet Government today.

He said the Zupco franchise system could be managed in a manner that ensures franchisees are paid hire fees commensurate with the costs of operation, a development that will result in an organised mass transport system.

“The fees must be paid and reviewed in time, cheaper spares organised centrally by zupco and a fleet replacement or upgrade system should be urgently put in place,” he said.

Mr Katsvairo said once all commuter omnibus operators sign up for the zupco franchise, there is likely going to be a marked reduction in harassment by touts and better terminus infrastructure investment that will be erected at pick-up and drop-off points.

After the lockdown, Government has been implored to craft a policy that will assist those left out of the zupco franchise, under the obtaining dispensation. 

zupco acting chief executive officer Mr Evaristo Madangwa said yesterday’s meeting was one of the many they periodically hold with operators.

“We do meetings regularly with the operators to iron out operational issues,” he said.

In terms of double vetting, Mr Madangwa said it was a requirement that ensured a good fleet on roads for the safety of passengers and other road users.

Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme urged Government to proceed with the ban on kombis, saying the plan dovetailed with their desire for a city mass bus transit system and a smart transport system.

Engineer Bernard Musarurwa said if zupco was professionally and diligently run, with proper timetables, the arrangement may provide a clean, safe and reliable public passenger transportation system.

A commuter, Ms Patience Zisengwe, said having all commuter omnibuses under zupco was critical as that may result in fixed fares regardless of weather conditions or time of the day.

This comes as touts have been accused of hiking commuter fares during the peak hours and when raining. Herald

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