COMMENT: Police must speed up engagements to arrest the  bus menace Buses in the city centre (Picture by Panashe Zingoni)

WE welcome the move by the police to engage relevant ministries to arrest the chaos by public transport operators across the country.

The lawlessness by public transport operators cannot be allowed to continue unchecked as they now pose a serious danger to the people.

A multi-stakeholder approach is, therefore, needed to address this issue to restore sanity in the cities hence our support for the initiative by the police.

The chaos reached alarming levels this past weekend when bus crews were involved in violent clashes in Mutare leading to the arrest of prominent businessman, Mr Isau Mupfumi, along with 21 touts.

Police have expressed concern over the errant behaviour of bus operators, saying it is prevalent across the country as bus crews continue to violate council by-laws by picking up and dropping off passengers in undesignated places.

In Bulawayo, most inter-city bus operators have abandoned Renkini Bus Terminus in Thorngrove and resorted to using undesignated pick-up and drop-off points.

An illegal bus terminus has been established along the Fourth Avenue Extension near Evelyn High School dormitories. Bus operators plying the Bulawayo-Zvishavane-Masvingo, Bulawayo-Mutare and Bulawayo-Beitbridge routes are using the undesignated point.

Buses plying the Bulawayo-Harare route have turned First Avenue into a rank and the place has also attracted menacing touts who are also in the habit of harassing travellers.

The bus crews have also introduced shuttle services and move around picking up passengers before dropping them at the undesignated pick-up points.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi said they are going to engage the relevant departments, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works including bus operators.

“It is high time that bus operators play ball. The issue of violence and chaos is not just happening in one city, but throughout the country, largely because of oversubscribed routes. We are told that some of these clashes are happening at designated ranks,” he said.

“We have since established that some bus operators want to be prioritised when picking up passengers, which creates tensions among operators. Ideally, bus operators should be guided by timetables, which are supposed to be issued by relevant departments.”

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) managing director, Mr Munesu Munodawafa said they are concerned with the behaviour of some errant bus operators.

“There is a need to put a stop to that. I know that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development through the Commission of Roads and Motoring Services is working to provide time-framed permits.

“We hope that the process will be finalised soon and we also hope the stipulated fines will be heavy,” he said.

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