Stranded commuters besiege ZUPCO depot

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SCORES of frustrated Bulawayo commuters Saturday went to a ZUPCO depot in the city to confront the public transporters managers after spending more than four hours waiting for transport at a city bus rank.

The ZUPCO depot is located a stone’s throw from the city centre.

Some of the commuters say they had waited for close to four hours after which they decided to confront the company’s management on why they were being short changed.

“On Saturday, I waited for ZUPCO buses at Hamara rank in the city centre for almost four hours.

“I arrived at the rank around 5 pm and by 8pm there were still no buses until we organised each other with among commuters so we could march to the ZUPCO depot,” said a Pumula South commuter, Nyasha Muchemwa.

When they got to the depot, he said, they were referred to a transport manager.

“At the depot we were referred to a lady transport manager who accused us of being too impatient.

“We tried to explain to her that the 8pm curfew cut-off had already lapsed. The lady also insisted that there were plenty of buses to ferry every commuter at the rank,” he said.

Muchemwa said the manager only released a bus after the angry commuters threatened to sleep at the depot.

“The manager grudgingly allocated us a ramshackle bus without lights. We eventually left town around 9 pm and I arrived home around 10 pm,” said another commuter.

Many commuting workers in the city often find themselves unable to comply with the dictates of the 8pm curfew cut-off recently announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of his government’s measures to contain the spread of Copvid-19.

However, due to transport scarcity following a ban on private operators, coupled with a depleted ZUPCO fleet, some workers find themselves still queuing for buses as late as 8pm, falling foul of curfew laws.

This has seen a lot of commuters arrested for violating curfew regulations while queuing or disembarking from buses and kombis in the city’s high-density suburbs.

Apart from the general shortage of ZUPCO buses, fuel scarcity has also compounded the situation.