Wednesday 21 June 2023


ABOUT 25 kilometres before one reaches Plumtree Town along the Bulawayo-Plumtree Road, they cannot help noticing a Botswana-owned luxury bus that has been curiously parked by the road side for more than six months now.

Luxury buses are popular among Zimbabweans who are into cross border trading within the region with some going as far as South Africa, Zambia and Botswana among other countries.

It would seem the company that owns the bus, Crembo Travel, has given up on it getting back on the road to finish the journey.

Due to its long stay by the road side, the bus has begun attracting “breakers” with the dashboard and the radio system being the first casualties.

One wonders what kind of “visitors” the bus attracts from surrounding villages especially because of its comfortable seats.

A white plaque written, “Harare via Bulawayo, Market Square, Charge Office, 4th Street” lies on the ground in front of the bus.

Only the bus owner and the passengers who were onboard could tell a better story of what happened on the day it stopped there and the journey had to be abandoned.

What is clear though is that the passengers who were onboard managed to disembark safely as the bus is largely intact with its emergency exit panels still untouched.

With a sense of caution, fearing that snakes could be sheltering inside the bus, a Chronicle news crew stepped into the bus using the back door to scout around.

Behind this door was a toilet seat which was still covered, showing that those who boarded the bus would have their recess inside the bus unlike the “chicken buses” which send passengers to the bush when nature calls.

All the doors were left open and one wonders who enters it now and for what purpose.

The wheels have so far withstood the harsh weather and have not deflated.

But one wonders how long it will be before the “bus breakers” come back for them and various other parts.

“I first saw this bus around October/November last year and it seems it has been abandoned. But it’s difficult to understand why a bus company would abandon such a luxurious bus and not bother to  tow it to a garage assuming it had a mechanical problem. Even if it’s beyond repair, the bus company could harvest the spare parts and re-use the seats which are still in very good condition,” said a man who only identified himself as Mr Ndlovu as he went about his business behind a fence adjacent to where the bus is parked.

A motorist who was driving to Plumtree claims to have once seen the same bus parked at some shops in Insiza along the Bulawayo- Harare Road.

This might point to the fact that the bus could have had its first breakdown when it was Harare bound from Botswana.

“I have more questions than answers because I first saw it at the Inzisa shops on the Bulawayo-Harare Road and it was there for some time. I suspect it developed a major mechanical fault and the owner has given up on it. It is unusual though because the company could even have auctioned it or towed it to Plumtree Town and kept it there instead of just dumping it by the roadside,” he said.

Efforts to contact the bus company were fruitless as there was little information about the company on various social media platforms.

After two weeks of investigations, which saw Chronicle being referred to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, Road Motor Transportation within the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Vehicle Inspection Department and the Zimbabwe Republic Police without success, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was pointed out as the perfect agency to shed more light on the matter.

“The owner was identified and is resident in Botswana. He tried to repair the bus and left to collect some spare parts. Due to a time lapse, Zimra is now making arrangements to tow the bus into its custody at the owner’s cost. When buses come into the country they are issued with a commercial temporary import permit which is supported by a commercial vehicle guarantee. The commercial vehicle guarantee is to guarantee the duty at stake in the event that the bus is not exported,” said Mr Francis Chimanda, Zimra Head of Corporate Communications.

Mr Chimanda said they are in the process of procuring the services of a towing company to tow the bus to the Plumtree State Warehouse, which is the nearest customs station.

He said when a foreign registered bus breaks down, the importer is expected to report to the nearest Zimra office and arrange for it to be repaired or towed out of the country.

The luxury bus’ time on the road might have ended and although loved by many travellers, it is clear that even luxury buses may fail to reach their destinations while the “chicken buses” arrive effortlessly. Chronicle


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