The current fuel woes which started last year have made the situation worse as commuters are now at the mercy of kombi operators who are charging high fares. However, the government had countered this by rolling out Zupco buses whose fares are ultra-cheap and can be as little 20 per cent of the fares being charged by kombis.
Unfortunately, the ZUPCO fleet is still very limited and is only benefitting a limited number of people. It is also very inconvenient for the commuting public due to the long waiting hours.
A source at the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing who spoke to ZTN News said,
“Zupco has been reaching out to leading kombi operators, trying to convince them to accept the offer being tabled by Government. The demand for cheaper public transport is overwhelming the buses currently servicing routes, and there is a need for an urgent solution, which in this case are kombis”.
“The numbers are yet to be agreed upon but Government is proposing to pay kombi operators twice a month, but there is scepticism on the current inflation rates”
Greater Harare Commuter Omnibus Operators (GHACO) Secretary-General Ngoni Katsvairo told ZTN
“We are just continuing to run because we have passengers to service, but the truth of the matter is it is no longer making business sense. During the US dollar era, we used to charge 50 cents to make thin profits. Now we are charging below that against rising operating costs. We are not even breaking even”.