‘Govt must rethink public transport policy’

The government has been urged to revise its public transport policy to avert a health disaster as commuters are exposed to the deadly Covid-19 due to overloaded Zupco buses.

In a recent report, Bulawayo Health Services department identified Zupco buses as one of the Covid-19 hotspots in the city.

The other hotspots are Cowdray Park, Magwegwe West, Entumbane and Nkulumane suburbs.

Speaking during an interview on The Breakfast Club,  I Am4Byo Against COVID19 initiative board chairperson, Busisa Moyo, decried the transport woes faced by residents in the city including essential workers who have to report for duty daily.

 “We were talking to Professor Mthuli Ncube last week to say, look, the transport is not adequate even for people to get to work on time, for those that are in essential services. We need to look at all these things and bring awareness and also lobby as well where decisions have been made, policies have been made but they are not really working well because it is us who are going to get infected,” said Moyo.

When President Mnangagwa placed Zimbabwe under the initial 21-day national lockdown, as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, on March 30, he also suspended transport operations by other players save for Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO).

However, the ZUPCO has failed to meet demand due to fewer buses and commuter omnibuses forcing commuters to spend hours in queues while others often resort to walking to and from work.

Moyo also noted the importance of raising awareness amongst residents about the importance of adhering to preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

He said constant reminders, especially on the surging statistics, need to be communicated to the people so that they stay alive to the reality of the pandemic.  

“We need to alert people on the seriousness of the pandemic, people need to be constantly reminded of the importance of wearing masks but people wear them in a wrong way, social distancing should be maintained,” Moyo said. 

“We need to get the message out there to people so that people are alive to the reality of this pandemic. Statistics need to be given to people all the time. Once people get statistics there is usually a change in behaviour. We must tell people more about the hotspots that are already there in the city, places where infections are already high.”

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