(Last Updated on September 3, 2021 by ZIMDAILY EDITOR)
HARARE: Commuters have described as unfair the decision by the police to fine members of the public who board buses, kombis and Mushikashika not registered under the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) franchise.
Police recently announced that commuters who board non-ZUPCO vehicles risk fines of $2 000 each, as they step up operations against errant buses, commuter omnibus and private car operators who continue defying COVID-19 regulations.
But commuters have attributed the boarding of unregistered buses, kombis and mushikashika which are operating illegally to the lack of ZUPCO buses and kombis across the country.
The commuters said the fines were unfair as police must assess the transport situation before coming up with such a punitive measure.They said another reason why they used the mushikashika was that they would want to get home before the curfew kicks in.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance National Secretary for Transport said “What government needs to realise is that, the ZUPCO registered vehicles are too few as compared to the demand by travellers. This therefore means that faced with a crippling shortage of transport, travellers will resort to private players.”
Full statement below;-
Ever since the introduction of ZUPCO as the sole mass public transporter in Zimbabwe, the MDC Alliance led by President Chamisa had warned the government of the dire consequences of this unreasonable move.
Consequences of monopolising the transport sector more so with an inept government controlled company with a deep history of failure were foreseeable from the start.
ZUPCO is not not capable to serve the growing mass travellers both intra and inter city.
The failure by ZUPCO to serve the public has created an opportunity for private players to serve the needy travellers. Most of these private players have always been registered as Transporters but have been pushed out of business at the introduction of ZUPCO as the sole transporter.
What government needs to realise is that, the ZUPCO registered vehicles are too few as compared to the demand by travellers. This therefore means that faced with a crippling shortage of transport, travellers will resort to private players.
In an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly Covid disease, a people centred government would have allowed registered private transporters to ferry people under a regulated environment which includes :
1- Reduced number of passengers in order to allow for social distancing. Three quarters of normal carrying capacity is recommended.
Regular sanitization of the vehicle at the end of each trip. Insistence of masks on all passengers on board.
The insistence of government on the current ZUPCO model where in the buses are always over Loaded and do not observe any Covid protocol simply corroborates the fact that the ZUPCO initiative is one among many of the looting vehicles by close ascosiates to Zanupf leadership. It’s not about the people but always about profiteering at every opportunity. Demanding fines from passengers of private vehicles is an unimaginable act from a careless government which do not deserve any day longer in Office.
Hon S Chikwinya
MDC Alliance National Secretary for Transport