Police blitz leaves scores stranded

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SCORES of commuters in urban areas are struggling to find transport to work because of a crippling police crackdown on pirate taxis and private cars carrying passengers.

Some commuters are being forced to endure long hours in the cold weather as winter settles in with brute force.

They would mostly be waiting for the few Zupco buses available.

Police mounted roadblocks on all major roads, arresting motorists carrying more than three people in their vehicles.

Even motorists carrying family members and school children were also caught up in the crossfire.

“This morning, I waited for almost two hours looking for transport to go to town. There were very few Zupco buses to ferry people to work. The mushikashikas which we normally board were not on the road because police were arresting them. We appeal to the government to let these private taxis ferry people because Zupco is apparently failing to cope with the pressure,” said Timothy Ncube, a commuter from Cowdray Park in Bulawayo.

Justin Ncube, another motorist, who was coming from Nkulumane with his family, said he was also forced to drop his two cousins at a roadblock along Plumtree Road.

“I was carrying five of my relatives going to a funeral when the police accused me of pirating and asked me to drop two passengers. When I resisted they threatened to impound my car and take it to Drill Hall until I gave in to their demands,” Ncube said.

The police were also targeting private commuter omnibuses ferrying school children on the opening day of the second term.

Commuter omnibuses, popularly known as kombis, that are not registered with the Zupco franchise are either being impounded or asked to drop passengers.

Police have been carrying out a similar blitz in Harare, which has seen the commuting public spending long periods in bus queues.

In his Workers Day speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa directed the local government ministry and Zupco to resolve the transport challenges facing urbanites.