By Lloyd Takawira
Government’s blitz on private kombis plying urban routes has left many commuters stranded, Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has said.
The transport woes have gotten worse with citizens being forced to walk long distances just to board the ZUPCO buses.
The passenger lobby group said the country’s sole transport operator, ZUPCO cannot cope with the high number of public transport commuters hence the banning of private Kombis and taxis by the government is unsustainable.
In an interview with Bustop TV News, PAZ national coordinator, Tafadzwa Goliati said, “as passengers we are appalled by the government decision to monopolize the transport system in the country. They ( government ) is fully aware that it cannot sustain or copy with the demand for transport.”
Goliati further said that some commuters are forced to disembark in private vehicles and walk to work by authorities manning road blocks .
“As passengers over the weeks we have witnessed a worrying trend were passangers are forced off their cars because authorities feel the car is used to transport people. In some instances, pirate kombis use undesignated routes to evade the police thus endangering the passengers. The government seems not to worry about that. They just want to ban private transport operators. The question is government able to cater for the overwhelming numbery of commuters. Obviously they cannot. Why not allow Kombis back to roads,” he said.
A survey carried out by Bustop TV News revealed that in most urban areas such as Chitungwiza and those who plie the Mutare road, passengers are dropped before a road block and picked up further from it, a move to avoid the police.
For 22 year Mitchell Mutamba a Chitungwiza resident , transport blues have became a nightmare.
“I’m supposed to be at work by 7am. If you board a private car. The police order you off, because it’s not designated to carry passengers. Those ZUPCO buses are very few. Some of them are so obsolete and unroadworthy and it’s scary to board them. We need Kombis.”
However government has remained adamant that only ZUPCO affiliated commuter omnibus are to continue operating .
At the latest post-cabinet briefing, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), police and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) will continue to enhance surveillance and enforcement in response to the upsurge of unregistered private kombis plying the country’s urban routes.
Government decreed that all public transporters in urban centres should be registered under the ZUPCO.
“Government notes with concern the increasing disregard of Covid-19 preventive measures by the general public. Members of the public are urged to continue observing Covid-19 regulations and control measures, especially the wearing of face-masks in public, maintaining social distance and frequent sanitisation. We are not yet out of danger.
“Related to this, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe continue to enhance surveillance and enforcement in response to the upsurge of unregistered private kombis plying the country’s urban routes. Owners of these vehicles are called upon to register with Zupco if they wish to operate on the country’s roads,” said Minister Mutsvangwa,”she said.