The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) says it will increase its fleet of buses and commuter omnibuses as the demand for public transport is increasing.
While declaring a national lockdown in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, President Emmerson Mnangagwa suspended public transport operators with only ZUPCO and Public Service Commission buses allowed to operate.
Only essential workers were given the directive to continue working, but a survey by CITE on Tuesday showed that human and vehicular traffic into the central business district was on the increase despite the country being on lockdown.
Contacted for a comment, ZUPCO acting chief executive officer Everisto Madangwa said the company said they had withdrawn most of their kombis as they were still assessing the situation.
“We have been monitoring the capacity of people going to town thus why we were only using buses. We had said if buses can’t cope with the demand, we will then introduce buses, so as from today (Wednesday) you will start seeing more ZUPCO Kombis coming in,” said Madangwa.
“So far people have been complying with the safety regulations and practising social distancing as you have noted that we are not carrying full capacity,” he said.
Last year, the government opened ZUPCO franchise to commuter omnibus operations, but only a few Kombis in Bulawayo partnered in the urban mass public transport scheme.
Meanwhile, Tshova Mbaiwa chairperson, Atlas Moyo said the government has rejected their plea to resume their operations.
“We had tried to engage the government through Sithembiso Nyoni to try and plead them so that we can resume work but we received a letter yesterday rejecting our plea, they said we must just wait,” said Moyo.
“Our children are now suffering, owners, drivers together with their conductors, the thing is they think these people had saved money but the truth is they are suffering just like everyone,” he said.