FUEL CRISIS: Kombi fares hiked daily; commuters forced walk several kilometres home

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By Anna Chibamu

PUBLIC transport operators have warned commuters to expect fare hikes as fuel shortages continue with many forced to walk several kilometres home because they cannot afford the new charges.

Kombi drivers who spoke to in Harare Wednesday said they had no choice but to increase fares since they are buying fuel on the black market for as much as $5 per litre.

The pump price for petrol is set at just under $1.40 according to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).

“We are buying fuel on black market in order to sustain our businesses which is why we are increasing fares on a daily basis,” said one driver.

“The current fuel shortages have forced us to increase fares so that we also recover the costs of buying the fuel on black market otherwise.

“We will go out of business if we continue charging old fares.”

Commuters are now having to fork out between $4 and $6 for a return trip to neighbourhoods such as Mabvuku/Tafara and Chitungwiza, Glen View, Budiriro, Kuwadzana.

The situation has seen some being forced to walk long distances as they cannot afford the new fares.

“I am a teacher. My salary is not enough to cover most of the basics, including transport,” said one Regai Chinhoto.

“We are struggling to survive under this environment where all commodity and service prices are being hiked yet our salary remains the same.”

The Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has also expressed concern over kombi fare hikes and lamented government’s lack of concern over the matter.

“The government is giving us a cold shoulder,” PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati said in a statement.

“The country has become chaotic with no laws being followed by anyone. This is exposing the general public who are forced to fork out the little money they are earning.

“Oh Lord, what have we done to deserve this? Please our leaders; do something because the situation is unbearable.”