By Matabeleland North Correspondent
Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe is set to increase its fleet of Zupco buses with about 2 000 expected in the country between now and next week.
Addressing delegates at the Rural District Councils chairpersons’ conference Thursday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that he will commission the buses next week.
He said 1 000 buses are coming from China, 500 from Belerus and 200 from South Africa.
A majority of them will be deployed to urban routes, where scores were allocated in the first phase.
Rural areas, home to about 70 percent of the population, will be given a few buses until the third phase where they will be given first priority.
“To mitigate transport challenges faced by communities, my government is currently capacitating Zupco.
“We have a number that has come in and next week or so I will be launching another fleet of buses that have come in. I have to wait and allow them all to be in before we launch them,” he said.
Mnangagwa said the Zupco buses have a critical role to address transport challenges by providing cheaper option to citizens.
Rural areas are home to about 70 percent of the country’s population but people either walk long distances or struggle to travel because of the shortage of public transport.
Mnangagwa said the buses are a key economic enabler and helping him achieve his vision for 2030, for an upper middle class economy.
“My government is aware of the role modern transport infrastructure plays as a key economic enabler to the transformation of our economy and towards reaching our vision 2030,” he said.
He said government will continue availing resources for road infrastructure projects.
In most urban and rural areas, some transport operators have taken advantage of shortage of alternative methods of travel to charge people exorbitant fares.
It costs between ZW$60 and ZW$100 to travel by bus from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls or Bulawayo to Harare.
Local commuter operators in the country’s resort town of Victoria Falls charge ZW$4 per one way trip between suburbs and town.
Zupco buses charge ZW$0,50.