By Ndatenda Njanike
OPERATORS of private commuter transport commonly known as kombis have pleaded with government to allow them to operate during this festive season to reduce pressure on travellers.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March banned private kombis from operating as part of measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ban has not been lifted since, leaving passengers stranded while kombi operators are counting the losses for being out of business.
Many people have been left stranded as the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) fleet is failing to cope with the high volume of people travelling for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Government should increase the ZUPCO buses and kombis. People coming to the rank are crowding due to the lack of sufficient transport and this can cause the transmission of the virus.
“If government cannot supply enough transport, it should just let these private kombis back onto the roads to mitigate this transport shortage,” said one Violet Chitindo in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“The government should lift the ban so that we can also get money for Christmas.
“The police have been hard on us this time and we have nothing to bring home because of their continuous raids of kombis,” said one conductor who wanted his identity to remain anonymous.
“Government should let Kombis operate this festive season. The ZUPCO buses are very few and people have been stranded while waiting for buses for hours.
“There is no reason why police have been chasing after these kombis. In fact, they are now causing accidents instead. So far three people have been killed at the rank (4th Street rank) because of these raids,” said Onismous Chibaida.
The government banned all private commuter omnibuses from operating and urged them to register under the ZUPCO franchise.