Commuters stranded as transport woes make a comeback

Commuters have been spending long hours queuing for public transport in Bulawayo following the pulling out of buses and kombis from ZUPCO over uncleared arrears.

Transport blues were the order of the day in Bulawayo this week which also affected learners who opened schools for Second Term on Tuesday.

With local currency continuously losing its value, public transport operators have bemoaned the low prices for hiring their vehicles at a time when fuel prices have gone up.

In an interview, Sibonginkosi Ncube from Thorngrove said the Government should reconsider the decision to ban kombis as residents have suffered since the decision was taken.

“We had a few buses plying our routes this week and it forced us to spend more time in queues with our children as they opened schools on Tuesday. This problem has been emerging ever since kombis were banned and we need a permanent solution as ZUPCO is failing,” she said.

For those working in industry, transport challenges resulted in wasted production time and this may affect their salaries this month end.

“Where I work I am paid per hour and despite waking up at 4 am to be at work at least at 7 am, buses failed us this week. We were also put at risk of attacks at night as we spent close to three hours waiting for a bus to take us to Cowdray park on Tuesday,” said Mable Sibanda  who works for a detergent making company in Bulawayo.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Government had not banned the operations of private contractors in the public transportation sector and assured members of the public that the public transport blues being experienced countrywide will be addressed.

“While noting the apparent withdrawal of services by some operators, Cabinet wishes to state that no effort is being spared in ensuring that the inconvenience to the travelling public is minimized.

“Government would like to assure the nation that Zupco is engaging with contractors with a view to ensuring that all arrears are settled and resolving any outstanding matters,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said more Zupco buses that had been undergoing licensing have since been cleared and were now plying various routes while Zupco buses that were travelling on inter-city routes were now required to undertake local trips upon return.

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