Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE Government in partnership with the Bulawayo City Council and the private sector intends to embark on a massive refurbishment of the city’s dilapidated 56 bus termini as it moves to overhaul the country’s transport system in line with President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.
Speaking shortly before the commissioning of 76 Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses at the City Hall car park in Bulawayo by President Mnangagwa on Friday, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said the revamping of the city’s bus termini was a bold step towards the speedy attainment of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“In Bulawayo, we have 56 bus termini, four in the Central Business District, four in the industrial area, three servicing the long-distance routes and 45 are situated in the residential areas. We also have several bus stops and lay-byes along the main roads such as siyephambili Drive and as Government, we intend to have them resuscitated in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“The revival of the city bus system must be a co-operation between the Government, local authorities and the private sector. The buses are there to promote and help the economy reach its ultimate goal of attaining an upper middle-income status by 2030.”
Minister Moyo said the revival of the Zupco transport system was a brainchild of President Mnangagwa.
He urged the private sector to complement the Government efforts through participating in the programme of rehabilitating bus termini.
“We call upon the private sector, particularly those who want to do business and advertising, it is their time to come on board and assist the city council to play a part so that our people can be sheltered when travelling in Zupco buses and omnibuses. We don’t want our people to be exposed to the sun, rain or wind and therefore we are inviting players in the private sector just like what we did in Harare to come on board,” Minister Moyo said.
The Minister said in Harare, the Government has already started working with the private sector to refurbish 457 bus termini in the capital city.
He said the Government would soon roll out the programme to other cities and towns across the country.
Acting Zupco chief executive officer Mr Evaristo Madangwa said the bus company has started shifting its focus to rural and inter-city long distance routes.
“In this region of the southern part of the country, we are covering routes like Nkayi, Gwanda, Filabusi, Plumtree, Tsholotsho and Binga among others. It is our hope that some of our locally assembled buses will be custom made to suit the rural terrain so that we continue reaching our valuable rural passengers,” he said.
Last month, Zupco was given the green light by the Government to expand its fleet size to complement conventional buses with 1 000 commuter omnibuses.
Mr Madangwa said they were within reach of that target after having secured 312 omnibuses so far, of which 80 of those kombis are plying routes in Bulawayo.
The company has 507 Zupco buses operating across the country, of which 93 are plying Bulawayo routes.
Most of the 76 buses commissioned by President Mnangagwa are expected to ply routes in Matabeleland North and South provinces so that communities in the region benefit from subsidised Zupco services.
President Mnangagwa said the programme attests to his Government’s commitment and determination to improve the quality of life of the ordinary people in line with his vision of transforming the economy into an upper middle-income status by 2030.
He said it is the Government’s vision to have an efficient, reliable, safe and affordable transport sector.
The country is expected to have in excess of 1 500 buses brought from China, Belarus and South Africa.
Of the 500 coming from Belarus, 300 will come to Zimbabwe as knocked down kits to be assembled locally to provide employment, the President said.—@mashnets