By Staff Reporter
URBAN commuters are now being asked to fork out up to US$1 or alternatively 10 South African rands for a single trip on Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses.
The public transporter recently hiked its fares from $16 to $30 for buses and $24 to $50 for private kombis operating under its franchise.
Passenger Association of Zimbabwe President, Tafadzwa Goliati said charging in terms of foreign currency was not proper as many commuters were getting paid in local currency.
“There is corruption behind the issue of getting forex. Most of the employees are getting paid in Zimbabwean dollars and only a few are getting paid in forex. This shows that the government is really hunting for money,” said Goliati.
“We are not happy with the issue. People should just change their money in banks. There are those that can manage to pay in forex, that’s good but when it comes to changing this money, how would they go about it as the rate is always changing.”
Goliati said passengers should be sanitised on every pick and drop amid fears the often-crowded buses were potential superspreaders of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.
“They are not following the World Health Organisation (WHO). Unlike in other countries, in Zimbabwe there is no testing of temperatures. This is a serious issue and it is putting passengers at a great risk.”
Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube said the country’s economy had virtually dollarised and it was now left for authorities to accept the obtaining reality.
“It is so sad to have businesses run in forex yet citizens have no source or means of either getting or making the same forex,” Dube said.
“As for buses not being disinfected and not sanitising passengers, this is total disregard of laid down protocols which call for the law to take its rightful course, by imposing hefty fines or cancel operating licences.
“After having said it all, it also calls for the commuters to refuse boarding such vehicles that defy health protocols. It’s so sad because the public’s lives are put in serious risk with this deadly pandemic.”
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said Zupco was a parastatal and for the transporter to accept forex, it was evident the economy was dollarising itself.
“What Zupco is doing is in line with the multi-currency system but the only challenge is that one pays $1 for two (passengers). How about those travelling on their own? Zupco should create a system that one gets a proof that they owe an individual a fare for one trip to be used in future rather than forcing people to travel in pairs,” said Sibindi.
“As residents, we have complained several times that Zupco as a parastatal must lead by example and it’s a shame that despite statistics being so high, Zupco is flouting laid down WHO Covid 19 guidelines that buses should be sanitised regularly and also sanitise passengers.”