Harare – The Zimbabwean government’s penchant of papering over cracks has come back to haunt commuters as kombi operators have begun increasing their fares in the wake of ZUPCO buses disappearance from the street.
Routes like Harare Central Business District to Marlborough whose fares had been reduced to $1 are back to $2,50 with commuter operators citing diesel availability as the main cost driver.
The script has been the same for many suburbs with the fares being between $2 and $3 as of yesterday evening.
“Over the past weeks we have been cashing in small amounts, between $30 and $50. Buses were putting us under pressure and we had no option,” a driver plying the Hatcliffe, CBD route said.
“We want to recover the money we lost and these people were ignoring us. Now that the buses are gone, they have to get a feel of their own medicine,” he said.
A snap survey around Harare CBD showed many commuters who were stranded as the kombis were showing no remorse towards those who had under-budgeted.
This comes barely a fortnight after the management of the city mass transit system was transferred from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to the Ministry of Local Government.
Attempts to get a comment from Local Government Minister July Moyo were fruitless as his phone was not being answered.
Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development is likely to be left with an egg on his face after openly declaring that the ZUPCO project will not fail.
His statement was in response to critics who had predicted a fail on the project and he called them out for their pessimism.
The reality on the ground seems to confirm the fears of many who questioned the sustainability of the ZUPCO project.
Reports suggest that bus operators commissioned to ferry passengers on behalf of ZUPCO are disillusioned by Government’s failure to process their payments on time.