Sunday, 6 September 2020

ZUPCO FARES HIKED AGAIN


THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has hiked bus and kombi fares for intra-city travel routes by 100 percent, citing rising operational costs.

This comes as the government has maintained its ban on private kombi operators, while calling on the operators to join the Zupco franchise.

Kombi fares have been increased from $16 to $32 and $32 to $48 per trip depending on route, while bus fares have been hiked from $8 to $16, $12 to $24 and $16 to $32 depending on route.

Zupco chief executive officer (CEO) Evaristo Madangwa confirmed the development to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, saying the increase was necessitated by the need to meet rising operational costs.

“Yes, I can confirm that prices have increased. It was a necessary increase that we had to make in order to cover operational costs. This was a gradual increase that saw us increasing the fares beginning of August and this month as well. We could not just increase the fares to what they are today at once, so we opted for a gradual increase.

“Going forward, we will not be increasing the fares anytime soon as they have reached a point where we can actually remain operational,” Madangwa said.

“We will continue maintaining our buses and ensuring that they are disinfected before carrying passengers and after so that we minimise the risk of the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19),” he added.

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) programmes manager Reuben Aliki said the fare hikes would worsen the plight of the hard-pressed citizens.

“Another fare hike in less than a month will definitely strain hard-pressed citizens who are not earning much due to the national lockdown.

“Also, in situations where you have a monopoly, service delivery normally goes down the drain as institutions take advantage of the people. Zupco is currently failing to deliver proper services to the public yet it is increasing its fares.

“For example, people are being forced to stand in queues for more than four hours before a bus is available to take them home. In some instances, the buses are carrying standing passengers in order to clear the long queues and some passengers are being asked to sit down on the floor of the bus to avoid being detected. This is a clear indication of poor service delivery,” Aliki said.

“The government should consider allowing private operators under strict guidelines so that passengers are not forced to stand in queues for many hours.”

Meanwhile, the government has maintained its ban on private kombi operators, arguing that they would not be able to adhere to strict Covid-19 mitigation measures.

“These are very difficult times. With Covid-19 nobody will say they know what to do. All the countries across the globe are struggling and it is a form of balance between the economy and the health of people and the right to life,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last week.

“So, we can’t allow everyone to get into town because as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it’s important to maintain social distance, wearing masks, sanitising hands. All those things are important in trying to control the pandemic and it will be difficult to monitor private operators to see if they adhere to these necessary measures.

“This is why we are saying that they should join the Zupco franchise where all steps are being taken to ensure that we curb the spread of the virus.” Daily News

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