THE ongoing police blitz on kombis and other private vehicles illegally operating in the different cities and towns, has seen a number of commuters who include school pupils stranded. School pupils are reporting to school late and workers are losing production hours daily as they are also reporting late for work.
There is an urgent need to address the shortage of public transport that has seen some workers walking to work and back. It is a fact that Zupco is overwhelmed by the demand for transport hence the hundreds of commuters walking to work and back in most cities and towns.
The Government policy is that only Zupco buses and kombis are allowed to ferry commuters in cities and towns. Police have been impounding kombis and mshikashika which are mostly Honda Fits as it enforces Government policy.
Workers in Bulawayo are saying they are now waiting for hours to board either Zupco buses or kombis resulting in them reporting late for work which is adversely affecting production.
Many kombi operators whose vehicles have been impounded are saying they now want to register with Zupco but are being told that Zupco is no longer taking new kombis.
There is an urgent need to boost the existing Zupco fleet to enable it to cope with the demand for public transport. It has become common to see workers and school pupils crammed in open trucks in the evening thereby exposing them to contracting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Government should urgently address the shortage of Zupco buses and kombis by directing Zupco to allow those operators whose kombis were impounded to register with it.
The Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Judith Ncube once hinted at plans to introduce special school buses to protect pupils from contracting the pandemic. Government should urgently implement this to ensure school pupils are not just protected from the pandemic but get to school and home on time.
School pupils are arriving home late due to the shortage of transport thereby exposing them to muggers. Measures being implemented by Government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in schools will be rendered useless if the pupils are exposed to the pandemic in public transport going to school and back.
We want to once again implore Government to urgently address the issue of shortage of transport for workers and pupils.