Govt must urgently act on transport
MOST Zimbabweans living in urban areas are facing an incredible amount of difficulty when commuting to and from work during the coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced lockdown.
When the government imposed the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 30, a ban on all public transport was effected.
This meant that thousands of commuter omnibuses (kombis) were immediately grounded by the decree.
Zupco is now the only entity permitted to transport members of the public during this lockdown period. After many years of plunder and abuse by government officials, Zupco’s fleet is obsolete and very small compared to its heyday.
Although the government has tried in recent months to acquire new buses to replenish the fleet, it is still a far cry from those glory days.
This has left millions of Zimbabweans stranded on the roads as they have to wait for hours to get transport to their respective destinations. At times people are spending between three to four hours waiting to board a bus at the various bus termini.
With most businesses now opening at 8am, workers are unable to report for duty on time due to the delays and struggles they face in getting transport.
This means valuable production time is lost as most people are getting to their work places well after 9am.
Time is an indispensable resource which most companies prioritise and due to the current state of affairs in the transport sector, production deadlines are not being met.
This means companies and service providers are losing a lot of money at a time when the economy is already in a recession.
For many years, the government had always tried to phase out kombis and the coronavirus has presented authorities with the perfect opportunity to carry out the exercise.
The government should have known that Zupco’s fleet is inadequate to service the entire country and embarked on the phasing out process in stages.
Completely grounding all kombis at once has created unprecedented chaos for travellers and it is a sorry sight in the mornings and evenings as people struggle to get transport.
In the meantime, the government must bring back kombis to alleviate this challenge while working on acquiring more buses to complement the Zupco fleet.
Until such a time when Zupco is able to service the entire country, kombis should be allowed to plug the gap.