THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has reduced its fares following a public outcry when it increased its fares by 100 percent early this month.
The sole urban public transporter had increased fares to $60 for a bus and $80 for a kombi, the fares the commuting public said were too high.
Zupco responded to the commuting public’s pleas and has reduced its fares to $40 for a bus and $60 for a kombi.
People said while they welcomed Zupco’s positive response, they are of the view that the company can further reduce the fares to $30 for a bus and $40 for a kombi.
Zupco has been mandated to provide a reliable and affordable urban transport hence people are calling on the company to come up with affordable fares.
When Government mandated Zupco to be the sole urban public transporter, it wanted to not only bring sanity to the public transport sector but also to ensure that fares remain affordable to the majority of the commuting public.
The pirate kombis are charging $50 which means that Zupco can charge even lower given that the company is being subsidised by Government.
We do not want the commuting public to board pirate kombis and taxis because this exposes them to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many of these pirate kombis are picking and dropping commuters at undesignated points and at times dump the commuters when they are confronted by traffic police.
It is a cat and mouse game with the police daily thereby endangering the lives of commuters.
We want at this juncture to commend Zupco for being sensitive to the plight of the commuting public especially now that the workers in both the formal and informal sectors are working reduced hours because of the enhanced level four lockdown.
We however, agree with the commuting public that there is room for Zupco to further review its fares downwards so that it becomes the transporter of choice in urban areas.
There is also need to increase the Zupco fleet by roping in more private operators so that the company meets its obligation of providing mass transport system in urban areas.
Government on its part should continue providing the necessary resources that Zupco needs to enable it to execute its mandate.
Government can only wean off Zupco when it is satisfied that the company has the capacity and adequate resources to provide mass public transport.