Hundreds of commuters in Harare were left stranded and soaked yesterday as shelters at various bus terminus were overwhelmed by passengers waiting for public transport to get them home.
Statutory Instrument (SI) 99 2020 introduced in March had stringent conditions of operations for public transporters, forcing many off the road.
Only state-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) omnibuses were allowed to ferry commuters but they are not coping up with the demand for public transport.
“We have been soaked and there are a few buses on the road. With the rains seeming to be upon us it becomes a burden for commuters. We, therefore, plead with the authorities to increase or bring back commuter omnibuses” said Denford Chipoyera, a commuter from Chitungwiza.
Some commuters had to use private vehicles to ferry them home with some charging exorbitant flat fares of US$1 for a trip to Hatfield and Chitungwiza which on a ‘normal day’ would go for ZWL$32.
Pirate commuter omnibuses also had to take advantage of the chaos sneaking into the Central Business District to ferry stranded commuters charging fares twice the gazetted ZUPCO fares.
Commuters pay $16 per trip for Zupco buses while Zupco kombis are charging $32
Contacted for comment, Zupco Chief Executive Officer, Everisto Madangwa said plans are underway to ensure the shelters cater for more commuters.
“We have since started refurbishing and resuscitating shelters at Copacabana bus terminus from there we will resuscitate Market Square, Fourth and Charge Office. We want to make sure that we finish the refurbishments before the rains,” said Madangwe.
However, a snap survey at major bus stations in Harare showed that ZUPCO has only repainted the shelters rather than refurbish them.