By Paidashe Mandivengerei
ZIMBABWE United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) conductors have been linked to rampant manipulation of the tap card system while siphoning money from the bus company in a ticketing racket, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
A source at one of the companies that partnered with ZUPCO to roll out the tap card system said conductors were declaring lower figures they would have collected from ticket sales and pocketing the rest of the monies.
The employees in question are also using the POS machine simcard which has unlimited data in their personal devices which makes it impossible for the machine to upload transactions in its system and at the depot.
Just like the ticket scam which took place at ZUPCO in 2019, this is costing the company large sums of money.
In May last year, over a hundred ZUPCO employees were dismissed from work and arrested after defrauding the bus company in a ticket scandal which saw culprits issue old tickets.
“ZUPCO conductors take cash from tickets and declare a lower figure which they then claim was swiped into the POS machine by passengers.
“The person responsible for recording the ticket sales at the depot does not verify in the system or with the POS machine as they appear to be part of the scam.
“The POS machine has a simcard recharged with unlimited data which they remove and put in their phones for personal use.
“Once this simcard is removed from the device it loses its memory,” she said.
The source added that a new cashless system was going to be introduced that will do away with the conductor and deal with the cash conversion scams.
While the scam is mostly common in Harare, employees in other cities like Masvingo have reportedly joined in.
A snap survey conducted by NewZimbabwe.com in Masvingo revealed that conductors displayed an unwillingness to use the tap machine opting for cash.
In one incident, passengers had not received tickets after being requested to do a mobile money transfer into the conductors’ Ecocash.
In another separate incident, the conductor informed passengers the POS machine was malfunctioning, forcing tap card holders to pay their bus fare using cash.
Speaking to a local publication, ZUPCO acting chief executive officer, Everisto Madangwa said investigations were underway.
“Many conductors have since been relieved of their duties because of this shocking scandal.
“Investigations are ongoing as we try to establish the chain involved,” he said.