Transport costs just too high 

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EDITOR — When the government introduced public buses to transport commuters to and from work everyone was happy that it was moving in the right direction by providing for its citizens.

Before the Zupco buses were introduced, transport costs were exorbitant as commuter omnibus operators would increase fares willy-nilly without a care for the general public.

And now with the return of illegal commuter omnibuses, transport costs are again beyond  the reach of many and set to increase further.

Government needs to continue to do more by further subsidising transport costs.

When these buses were introduced, fares were as low as 50c to $1 and $2 for places like Norton.

These fares were affordable as compared to what other players in the transport sector were charging.

But now the fares have increased sharply, especially when salaries have not changed much and more people find themselves unemployed as many businesses are cutting jobs as a result of the coronavirus.

Early this month, bus fares have been hiked from ZWL$8, ZWL$12 and ZWL$16 to ZWL$16, ZWL$24 and ZWL$32 — de-

pending on the route.

Kombi fares have been increased from ZWL$16 and ZWL$32 to ZWL$32.00 and ZWL$48 per trip respectively, also depending on route.

Zupco, in a social media post, said the move is meant to ensure reliability.

But it seems to me the government is taking us back to that era as it continues increasing transport fares when they actually know that most people are not earning enough money to survive the whole month, considering other costs.

It is sad that nowadays some commuters are spending as much as $500 a week on transport and are forced to wait for long hours just because the Zupco buses are few.

One wonders how the commuters will be able to cope when the current lockdown is lifted and all these buses are allowed to travel to different parts of the country and across the borders.

It is sad that the increase in fares has a bearing on private operators as well as some of them are demanding United States dollars only from passengers, saying the local currency has no value.

Government just has to seriously rethink this public transport issue and make sure that it subsidises transport because by the end of the month most commuters will not be able to afford travelling to and from work.

Life is really hard for most people and the transport costs are making the situation even worse.

If you see people waiting for transport that is when you realise that life is not easy and most cannot afford to board the private vehicles whose fares have also gone up as they try to survive in this environment.

— Concerned commuter

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