Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
COMMUTER buses and kombis plying rural routes including metered taxis operating in urban centres are allowed to operate without registering under the Zupco franchise or going through the Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) as long as they are licensed to operate.
All public transport vehicles are however supposed to be taken to the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), which falls under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for fitness examination.
Government decreed that all public transporters in urban centres should be registered under Zupco in order to bring sanity to the public transport sector.
Zupco registered buses and kombis have been able to enforce Covid-19 health protocols meant to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo made the clarification during last Wednesday’s National Assembly’s Question and Answer session in Parliament.
“Commuter omnibuses and buses which go to rural areas do not need to go to CMED or register with Zupco. If the Ministry gives them a licence to operate, that is what they use and nothing was disturbed,” he said.
“However, because in urban areas most of the places are tarred, this is where the mushika-shika or illegal operators flood creating chaos,” said Minister Moyo.
He said Government policy is holistic to the problems bedevilling the transport sector with his ministry not only focusing on urban areas but also helping in the rural areas.
“As a policy issue, we do not want people to have any disturbance and they should be ferried to and from their destination. Where commuter omnibuses could not reach, we have instructed that all these places be reached,” he said.
Minister Moyo said Government is buying more Zupco buses with the intention of reaching out to all areas in the country.
“Our intention as Zupco is to reach all areas. Those who operate in rural areas had come to us complaining saying Zupco is actually bringing the fares down and our answer was that there should be competition. Our intention is to help the people hence we want this competition to benefit them,” he said.
Minister Moyo said registering public transporters under Zupco has also helped in reducing accidents as drivers go through thorough fitness test.
He said CMED is well equipped to do all the vehicle inspections.
“If you look at the statistics of buses that have killed or injured people, you find that Zupco registered buses and kombis are few. The reason is that bus drivers under Zupco undergo fitness test,” he said.
Minister Moyo said this had helped in the reduction of accidents in the country.
“We were recording many accidents in urban areas because operators and their drivers were not following the rules and regulations with regard to providing public transport.”
He said vehicles that are designated as taxis are licensed differently from the other transport systems by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and are allowed to operate.
“The taxis are not required to go through the Zupco way. They are designated as taxis and are licensed by the Ministry of Transport differently from the other transport systems and so, they are exempt,” he said.
Responding to a question by Zanu-PF Chegutu West Legislator Cde Dexter Nduna on whether there is a plan by Government to create a dedicated line on the country’s road infrastructure for public transport, Minister Moyo said:
“We have been planning about how movement should take place in the urban areas.
“In the past, we created these one-ways and we thought it would alleviate the situation but vehicles have increased hence the congestion on our roads during peak hours.”
He said at the moment it was not feasible to create public transport lanes as the country’s roads are narrow. — @mashnets