By Tonderai Saharo
PRIVATE commuter omnibus operators in urban areas may not return to business again as government has no intentions of lifting the ban.
Permanent Secretary in the information ministry Nick Mangwana said this after an inquiry on the surge of private commuter operators trickling back to business in Masvingo City after government continues to relax Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions.
“They are not authorised to ferry passengers and the police will treat them as pirate taxis.
“It’s not clear yet as to when government will consider lifting the ban. They may never (return to business),” Mangwana said.
Earlier, Mangwana’s junior Masvingo the provincial information officer Rodgers Irimayi emphasised the ZUPCO franchise will continue providing transport services to the urban commuters.
This is despite concerns from passengers in the country’s first urban settlement that the franchise was no longer adhering to fumigation, body temperature checks and sanitising of passengers before boarding.
“Zupco is operating and providing transport service to the commuting public.
“As a measure to control the spread of Covid-19 according to guidelines set by government, all buses and kombies are disinfected daily at the depot.
“The move guarantees that passengers are safe and may not get infection.
“As for sanitising, all bus crews maybe reluctant to sanitise but daily Zupco ensures that every conductor gets his or her sanitiser before work.
“Zupco goes an extra mile to ensure that they comply to the Covid -19 regulations.”
Since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March, government suspended all private commuter transport operations in city centres and urged those willing to continue operating to join its ZUPCO franchise, a move which was met with mixed feelings among operators.