Demand for Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses has spiked and the public transport operator is set to take delivery of 300 more coaches in a major leap for the country’s mass transport system.
Commuter operators are charging exorbitant prices ranging from $2 to $5 which is beyond the reach of many, forcing Government to intervene through introducing a mass transport system to cushion the public.
Zupco is charging 50 cents in Harare and 75 cents from Harare to Chitungwiza, with about 15 buses that have been allocated to the province struggling to cope with demand.
Zupco acting chief executive Mr Everisto Madangwa said they were currently overwhelmed.
“Currently, Zupco is operating 260 buses countrywide including those from the private players. We are putting frantic efforts to manage the situation. Definitely we will be able to meet demand.
“Currently, I am on the ground monitoring the situation. Passengers are preferring our buses due to our competitive prices,” said Mr Madangwa.
“I’m not looking at the actual figures at the moment, but roughly four or five buses have been allocated to Bulawayo, two to Gweru, one bus to Kwekwe and another to Masvingo. Due to the fact that Harare is a big city, about 14 or 15 buses have been allocated to service its routes.”
He said the bus company was still working to ensure that all urban routes had buses, as some suburbs are still to benefit from the service.
“We understand that some suburbs still do not have Zupco buses servicing their routes, however, we urge members of the public to remain patient as we are dealing with logistics and increasing our capacity,” said Mr Madangwa.
Mr Mandangwa said they would continue improving on their e-ticketing system which has so far proved to be convenient to passengers and plans were underway to open e-ticketing kiosks for the convenience of the public.
In a separate event, Acting Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Prof Amon Murwira said the 50 percent reduction in fares by Zupco will see the transport utility making profit on the back of an efficient utilisation of the electronic ticketing system, Parliament heard yesterday.
Prof Murwira said this while responding to questions from legislators during the Question and Answer session.
“We have developed a tap and go system, an electronic ticketing system. The 50 cents can make the company realise huge profits. Most of the high prices that we normally see are as a result of inefficiencies, Zupco is able to make profit even if it charges thirty cents per trip,” said Prof Murwira.
Responding to another question, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Prof Paul Mavima said the country’s education standards had surged from around 22 percent to 33 percent.
Bulilima legislator Cde Dingimuzi Phuti (Zanu-PF) had asked what Government was doing to raise teacher-pupil ratio with regards to textbooks saying that it had led to reduction of educational standards.
“I do not agree with the assertion that our education standards have declined. Our pass rate was actually rising.
“We have moved from theory to practice. We are receiving a lot of feedback at our schools and our education has been transformed into a psychomotor.
“Our standards have risen, we were once at 22, but we are now at 33 percent,” said Prof Mavima.
He said it was true that schools continued to be dogged with challenges regarding resources and the Government was working tirelessly to address it.
Prof Mavima said schools that had been affected by Cyclone Idai had since received resources.