Commuter omnibus operators in Bulawayo have once again baulked at a call by the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) for them to join their franchise, claiming it will lead to the collapse of the transport industry.
The government has once again made a call for private kombi operators to join their franchise as part of measures ease public transport woes in the city.
Only ZUPCO and Public Service Commission buses are currently permitted to ferry passengers during the national lockdown while other transport operators were left out in the cold.
However, Zupco has been failing to cope with the huge demand following the relaxation of the lockdown regulations which saw more companies resuming operations.
The transport crisis has left most commuters stranded especially during peak hours.
In an interview with CITE, Zupco Southern Division operations Manager Tineyi Rwasoka said the company needs more kombis to alleviate the current transport woes experienced by the commuting public.
“We want kombis that will make sure that we alleviate current problems that we are having, initially we had announced that we have 223 kombis for Bulawayo and we only received 160 that’s the ones we have got up to now, so we are hoping to get 63 more to reach 223 allocation for Bulawayo, but we will assess whether the current 63 that we will bring on board will have solved the current problems that we are having,” said Rasoka.
However, contacted for a comment, Tshova Mubaiwa Transport Corporation chairperson Atlas Moyo said they were not willing to joining the ZUPCO franchise as they do not want to want to destroy their company.
“The reason why we do not want to join Zupco is that Tshova Mubaiwa was formed by an Act of Parliament by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo, Kembo Mohadi and Cain Mathema, following that we have kept it operational we cannot join another franchise when ours is still operating well, Zupco is the one that collapsed for 35years,” said Moyo.
He, however, said the association has approached different government ministers to seek assistance for its employes who have been affected by the current lockdown.
“We have agreed to approach certain Ministers to seek permission to be allowed to operate and ferry at least nine passengers as per government’s recommendations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director of Bulawayo Public Transport Association (BPTA), Morgan Msipa said that his association is waiting to be approached officially by Zupco.
“We only saw an advert calling for Kombis to register under ZUPCO but we are waiting for information since we have not been approached by officials. We have not been told how this is going to go about, we are just seeing an advert without any communication with us,” said Msipa.