Intercity bus operators are bullies: BCC

INTERCITY bus operators are the major culprits in breaking traffic laws and city by-laws, a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) official has said.

Unlike buses that travel rural routes, intercity buses are challenging to regulate since they act independently, making it difficult for the council to enforce traffic laws and prevent their drivers or touts from soliciting passengers at undesignated locations. 

BCC Acting Senior Security and Traffic Officer, Ndumiso Ndlovu, claimed that certain intercity bus operators are bullies who disobey the law and break traffic rules. 

“There are operators who have many buses and are bullies in the market and industry. Although they used to follow the timetable, they no longer do that,” said Ndlovu.

“Harare buses don’t respect each other. Here, we have a local association where buses respect each other. They have and abide to principles and don’t necessarily compete but give each other loading times. Why can’t Harare buses come together and agree? As much as there are mshikashikas or private cars at the exit points, we can look at how to manage those scientifically so that buses benefit but Harare is fragmented. It is each man for himself, same with buses from Masvingo to Mutare.” 

Ndlovu claimed there were buses that also created illegal entry points and cited ZUPCO as another culprit. 

“We had Covid-19 and people were not travelling. ZUPCO remained the monopoly and we never had problems but right now you find ZUPCO at illegal pick-up points,” he stated. 

“Throw your eyes across City Hall now, and you will find ZUPCO touting for Gwanda, a ZUPCO, can you imagine! Go to Centenary Park – you find ZUPCO, where are their principles?” 

Ndlovu said BCC had no problem with ZUPCO which is managed in Bulawayo but had challenges from these ZUPCO buses managed outside the city. 

“We also have a problem with intercity buses from Masvingo and Mutare. They leave and return the same day. As we speak these buses arrive around 10 to 11 am, that is when chaos increases, when they arrive and are turning back. They don’t wish to go to the rank,” he noted.  

According to the traffic official, there are South African-bound buses that only come during the holiday season and cause chaos. 

“They are here and Tendy Three Investments (TTI) will tell you that. These buses will be hired from South Africa and cause mayhem in December and January. Come the end of January, we will forget about those buses,” Ndlovu said. 

“If there is a holiday in South Africa and Zimbabweans want to come back home, these buses give us a challenge. They don’t have passenger insurance and hire old buses which don’t match the buses we have here. When going to South Africa, they malfunction and passengers are short-changed.” 

He also mentioned that a lot of overnight travel needed to be tracked. 

“Of late, a lot of people prefer travelling overnight. We carried out a survey and can have as many as 17 to 18 buses leaving Bulawayo daily,” Ndlovu said. 

“Some passengers are involved in vending and have nowhere to stay when they arrive in Harare. Others are going to the Registry for passports and IDs so they prefer to travel overnight to do their errands in the morning and return. But the aspect of bulling needs to be arrested, there is artificial congestion created by players who just want to bully and nothing else.”    

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