Joseph Madzimure, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company expects its next batch of buses next month, as it methodically grows its fleet with Government support to rejuvenate the public transport system.
Zupco acting chief executive officer Mr Everesto Madangwa said the batch would arrive from China and South Africa, but could not give the precise number of coaches expected.
There are now 516 conventional buses and 458 kombis in the Zupco fleet, with some of them operating under franchise to service both urban and inter-city routes.
Government is subsidising the fuel from revenue realised from excise duties.
“Everyday, the number of kombis registered under the Zupco franchise is rising,” said Mr Madangwa. “We are targeting to register 1 000 kombis by end of this month and so far, the progress made shows that we are heading towards reaching the target.
“More private operators are requesting to operate under the Zupco franchise. The scheme seeks to provide travelling convenience during the festive season and beyond.”
Mr Madangwa urged kombi operators to bring certificates of fitness if they wanted to be part of the franchise, to ensure the safety of the commuting public.
Zupco plans to provide an uninterrupted and affordable commuter service during the festive season when transport operators traditionally hike fares drastically.
“We are working on modalities to introduce a pre-booking system for inter-city routes for the convenience of travellers so that we de-congest the system of acquiring tickets upon boarding,” said Mr Madangwa.
Zupco is presently moving 100 000 passengers daily on one-way trips on its inter-city routes.
President Mnangagwa is on record as saying Zimbabwe is going to have one of the most advanced urban transport systems in the world.
The Government is looking at a minimum fleet of 2 500 buses for urban and inter-city routes for Zupco, with about 1 500 being imported from China, 500 from Belarus, while the rest will be assembled locally.