Thandiwe Katinhimure, Chronicle Reporter
Kombis are shunning designated ranks in Bulawayo following the closure of Egodini terminus, resorting to indiscriminate picking and dropping off of passengers in the CBD.
Municipal police officers are having a torrid time enforcing order as kombis now pick passengers anywhere in town. The situation has been blamed for worsening congestion, especially during morning and evening peak periods. The transport operators complain that the new ranks are not giving them good business as commuters resist using them, forcing them to go to where there are travellers.
Bulawayo United Public Transport Association (Bupta) finance director, Mr Keeper Ndlovu, confirmed the development saying pirate public transport operators were the ones causing problems as they operate all over the CBD resulting in customers not showing up at the designated ranks.
“The transport operators shun the new allocated ranks because pirate kombi operators are taking advantage of the situation and pick customers in the CBD, which leaves the registered public operators at the legal ranks with fewer customers,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Kombis operating along 6th Avenue also complained saying their business has since been under siege following their relocation by the city council.
“Our trips have immensely decreased since the day we were relocated from Egodini. You find out that there are three bays in town for one route, which makes business slow as customers are going for different bays instead of one,” said a kombi driver who requested anonymity.
A similar situation prevails near TM Hyper where kombis have virtually made Fort Street impassable for private motorists as they pick passengers anywhere.
The Bulawayo City Council closed the Basch Street Terminus, popularly known as Egodini, on 20 March 2018 to pave way for the construction of the new look mall. Public transporters and informal business players were as a result moved to new designated places around the CBD. South African contractor, Terracotta Trading Private Limited, won the tender to build the $60 million Egodini mall.
Mr Ndlovu, however, said operations were gradually falling into place as city council is working on constructing another rank near 3rd Avenue to cater for transporters.
“The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is working on bringing sanity and it is putting measures to deal with pirate public transport operators in the city who are causing problems,” he said.—@thandyfeminine