IT’S been a week from hell for all commuters in and around the capital city, as most people have had to wait for close to three hours at local bus terminuses in order to get transport into town.
Clearly, the situation is inconveniencing everybody, especially those who will have to deal with inconsiderate bosses for arriving late at their different workstations.
One would have hoped the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) would cope with the hundreds thousands of thousands of workers who commute to town daily, amid the lockdown, given the number of new commissioned Zupco buses we often hear about now and then in local media broadcasts and publications.
There is no shame for authorities to admit that Zupco cannot satisfy the transport needs to citizens, as it is crystal clear that the public transporter clearly has no capacity to do so, at the present moment.
Private transporters (Kombis) were the mainstay of transporting the general public, despite their frequent and at times unjustified hiking of commuter fares, which brought about government resuscitating Zupco, in order to make life easy for commuters, who were at the mercy of kombis’ high transport fares.
An amicable solution can always be reached between right thinking and progressive minds, in order to resolve the current transport blues in Harare and other cities in the country.
Government’s decision to whip kombis into line by extending a hand to kombi operators to join the Zupco franchise was a noble one, but not necessarily the only possible solution.
One may not be far off to suggest that this is government’s way of getting rid of kombis in the central business district, as the mushika-shikas were clearly disrupting the smooth flow of traffic in town.
Also factoring the running cat and mouse battles between members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and kombis, which at some point have led to unfortunate deaths of innocent bystanders, as kombis fled from spike wielding police officers.
For the benefit of all commuting public, relevant private transport associations, relevant government arms and health inspectors should work to ensure that kombis adhere to the Covid-19 prevention regulations and get them back on the road because as it is, the public carrier clearly has no capacity, as it stands.
Zupco is loved by most commuters, if not all, mainly for its affordable fares, but its capacity has clearly been put to test and it would be fair to say a helping hand from private players wouldn’t do any harm, but good for the commuting public.