Commuters have called on government to remove restrictions on the operations of private commuter omnibuses to address the chaotic situation bedeviling the commuting public during this rain season.
Since the declaration of COVID-19 induced lockdown over seven months ago, commuter omnibus operators have disappeared from urban areas with government reiterating that they can only return if signed under Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO).
Passengers who spoke to 263Chat yesterday bemoaned the chaotic transport situation as they called for the return of private players.
“Already, private vehicles are failing to suppress transport deficit and I feel government should just let kombis operate. If they really want them regularised they can do it with kombis already running, it’s better that way than for us to get soaked during this rainy season while we wait for the few ZUPCO busses,” Dyson Murira, a commuter said.
“I think they should just allow the public kombi operators to come back in the game because even if we have these ZUPCO busses they are failing to match the demand,” Trae Ndlovu.
Though kombi operators have been accused of harassing and abusing women with derogatory public comments, Ndlovu indicated that they would rather put up with it.
“It’s nothing new, as rogue as they are we have been managing all this time and we are the ones desperate for their service. It’s better to put up with it than getting home late and risk being mugged or robbed along the way,”
However, Local Government Minister, July Moyo has maintained that the only way for kombis return is via registration under the ZUPCO franchise.
“This is a health induced transport strategy, that is meant to ensure that the further spread of Covid-19 is contained. The country is not yet out of the woods, since we still have cases of Covid-19.
“The regulations that were put in place to prevent, contain, and treat Covid-19, are not meant to disadvantage those who invested in the transport, or any other sector, but to ensure that the objectives of the regulations are met. We note with great concern, that the operators who resist working with ZUPCO are usually those that are not registered, and do not meet the requirements,” said Moyo.