Teachers stationed at schools on the outskirts of Bulawayo say they are forced to arrive late at their bases due to transport challenges.
Even with the introduction of cheaper Zimbabwe United Passengers (ZUPCO) buses has not solved their problems, as they wait for long hours for the buses and only arrive at school around 11 am.
Most of the commuter omnibuses have shunned most of the peri-urban routes due to the bad state of the roads forcing commuters to rely on the buses.
The affected teachers are from the peri-urban areas such as Mazwi village, St Peters, Robert Sinyoka, Bellis and Khami prison.
In an interview with CITE, one of the teachers, Sharon Watson, said the issue of transport is inconveniencing them.
“The Khami route is being side-lined when it comes to ZUPCO services yet it covers 6 villages. There is just one bus and they had promised to look into the issue but they have since not fulfilled it,” said Watson.
“As teachers, we are supposed to be at school at least by 7 am but you find that we wait for the bus for long hours and we end up starting school around 11 am.
She said they are failing to keep up with Kombi fares.
“We are failing to keep up with Kombi fares as they charge ZW$7 from Old Pumula to get to our workplaces. These fares are not even constant they go up every day.
“There are several schools in the area which include Sizandaba secondary school, St Peters primary, and Khami prison primary and secondary schools.
“Sometimes we travel on sand trucks called ‘Omasngcolile’ or ‘wrong turn’ out of desperation,” she said.
However, ward 17 councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo said residents were shunning the buses.
“The problem with residents is that they once complained about the problem and I went to ZUPCO offices and the issue was rectified. I will try and engage with ZUPCO once again and I hope this time the residents will board the buses,” the councillor said.
When contacted for a comment, one of the ZUPCO managers, Pilang Tumelo Moyo said they were servicing all the routes in Pumula.
“I wouldn’t agree with the allegations as there are 2 buses that leave the ZUPCO depot every day around 4 am to service the Khami route. Unfortunately, we cannot adjust the time at the moment as we will inconvenience other people,” said Moyo.