THERE are genuine fears that the government’s efforts to help citizens with affordable transport will fail if authorities at the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company do not address the rising accidents involving their new fleet.
The government is in the process of acquiring brand new buses for ZUPCO but while the process is ongoing, a number of the commissioned vehicles have been involved in fatal accidents.
A number of the brand new buses have been written off in the accidents, depleting a fleet that is still way below desired targets to effectively serve the country battling high transport costs by unscrupulous operators.
Following a horrific week marred by two accidents, some transport experts have urged ZUPCO to take its personnel for further training to reduce road carnages and preserve the fleet.
On Monday, six people died on the spot and another died on admission at Kwekwe General Hospital after a Harare bound ZUPCO bus sideswiped with a Honda fit vehicle resulting in both drivers losing control of both vehicles.
The accident happened just outside Kwekwe.
On Tuesday, 27 people were injured when a ZUPCO bus bound for Harare veered off the road and overturned near Beatrice.
The Zimbabwe Republic police attribute most accidents to human error and in most of the accidents involving the Zupco buses, speeding is being cited as a possible contributing factor.
Some transport experts contacted by H-Metro yesterday felt that ZUPCO had not given their drivers adequate training before deploying them and hiring inexperienced ones previously operating kombis.
One, who preferred anonymity citing professional reasons, said the new ZUPCO buses brought in have a new device which most of the drivers are not familiar with.
“These new ZUPCO buses now come with an electric retarder switch which holds up the whole prop shaft; when it is applied and the drivers could be pushing this switch during emergencies.
“When a retarder switch is applied, it binds the back wheels making it very difficult to control the vehicle and the bus will definitely overturn.