THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has increased its fleet of kombis in Bulawayo from 46 to 80 and expanded its services to cater for residents living in the eastern suburbs.
Last month, Zupco mobilised more than 200 kombis to service suburban routes across the country, with 46 kombis operating under the scheme in Bulawayo.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Zupco Southern Division operations manager Mr. Tineyi Rwasoka said the increase is meant to bring relief to residents who were being charged $5 by operators who are not on the scheme while ZUPCO kombis are charging $2.
Mr. Rwasoka said four kombis have been allocated to each of the suburbs.
“The whole country requires 1 000 kombis and Bulawayo requires 223 of those. We have managed to register 80 kombis operating in Bulawayo which is an increase from 46 kombis which were initially registered at the beginning of the scheme. More kombis are yet to be registered,” he said.
“We now have kombis operating in eastern suburbs such as Burnside, Hillside, Montrose and Kumalo. Residents in those suburbs now have access to affordable transport and in Burnside, for example, the kombis travel on an hourly basis. Our aim is to provide affordable transportation across the whole city and we are slowly heading towards that goal.”
Mr. Rwasoka said the bus company only engages compliant operators with vehicles whose documents are in order to promote the safety of passengers in the event of an accident.
He said most kombi operators are now working on attaining proper documentation for their vehicles so as to qualify for registration.
“When the scheme was implemented, we faced a challenge in mobilizing vehicle operators in Bulawayo because they did not have the required documents for registration. Most operators are acquiring those and are coming in numbers to register. Today I even saw some operators going for registration and this is a positive response,” said Mr. Rwasoka.
Meanwhile, the latest batch of 76 Zupco buses imported by the Government from China arrived in the country at the weekend and are awaiting commissioning by President Mnangagwa on a date to be announced. The 76 buses are part of the 1 000 buses ordered from China which is expected to complement another 500 buses from Belarus.