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Citizens blast govt, ZUPCO over transport crisis

Zimbabweans have taken on the government and the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) over the crippling transport crisis, which has left thousands of commuters in urban areas stranded.

This follows the withdrawal of vehicles from ZUPCO by private operators over failure by the parastatal to pay them reasonable hire fees.

ZUPCO was made the sole public transporter by the government in 2020 under the guise of curbing the spread of Covid-19. Private transport operators were then mandated to register and operate under the ZUPCO franchise while those who resisted the move have since been playing hide and seek with the police.

Following the withdrawal by private kombi operators from ZUPCO some commuters have been forced to pay US$1 for a trip instead of the US$0,50cents with few operators taking advantage of the situation.

Angry Zimbabweans took to social media platforms and castigated the government for the crisis.

“ZUPCO bought a number of buses but forgot to invest in management of resources,” said one citizen on Twitter.

“Managing an urban transport requires specialised skills including precise route management analysed through Business Analytics with lots of Data Analytics. Stuff that July Moyo won’t be able to grasp.”

Another citizen on the same social media platform said there is a need for private players to challenge the monopoly of ZUPCO.

“ZUPCO was given a chance and they failed, there is a need for them to be challenged by regularised private players,” he said.

Bulawayo residents who spoke to CITE did not have any kind words for the government.

“It’s (transport crisis) inconveniencing us,” said Douglas Ncube of Entumbane.

“They (ZUPCO) are failing to meet the transport demand; they are not reliable at all. I wish we could go back to having those Bulawayo transport associations back, the likes of BUPTA and MUBAIWA.”

Mbekezeli Sibanda said the government should allow private players to run the transport industry across the country.

“It creates a form of unity and order within cities and more jobs are hence created as well. Our country is already in a very bad state. The government shouldn’t be adding to the burden felt by citizens.”

Discent Bajila of Luveve suburb said the ZUPCO monopoly was to blame for the crippling transport crisis.

Discent Bajila

  Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairman, Ambrose Sibindi said the government should swallow its pride and bring back private transport operators and resolve the crisis.

Ambrose Sibindi

        Social commentator, Mkhululi Tshuma described the transport crisis as a “huge mess.”

“It’s a huge mess,” he decried.

“It seems as if our government now has a department that specialises in looking at ways to cause its citizens to suffer even greater. There was no need to take private kombis off the street. They should have allowed private kombis to operate side by side with the ZUPCO franchise but independent from it.”

He added: “Where have you seen a monopoly on transport in this day and age. It’s even sad that we have a judiciary that upholds such nonsense and refuses to intervene.”

Ward 22 councillor, Rodney Jele said both public and transport players should be allowed to operate, adding the ZUPCO monopoly was long overdue.

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