Wanted: Shelters at bus terminuses

Tanaka Mahanya Features Writer

Disrupted, disorderly and messy beyond repair sheds welcome commuters at Copacabana bus terminus in the capital.

Commuters are seen queueing for the Zupco bus which has delayed by close to two hours, enduring the scorching sun at the terminus.

A young man is sweating profusely as he has been standing in the baking sun for over three hours waiting for a Zupco bus.

A woman tries to negotiate her way to the front claiming to have a baby suffering from stomach pains. She complains that she has been standing in the sun with her daughter for too long.

A Zupco Mabvuku-bound makes a stop, bringing joy to the commuters seeking shelter in the virtually roofless sheds. It is now survival of the fittest.

The few sheds at Copacabana terminus cannot accommodate all commuters awaiting transport to ferry them to their homes.

They are either disfigured or shattered as they accommodate just a small fraction of the masses at the rank.

The same applies to Mbare Musika, Market Square and Simon Muzenda (formerly Fourth Street) bus terminuses.

Now that we are approaching the rainy season, commuters are worried about the lack of infrastructure to shelter them as they wait for transport to ferry them home.

The situation mostly affects Zupco buses and omnibuses commuters as they have to wait for long hours exposed to rains as the buses rarely stick to their timetables.

Kuda Mafemera, an omnibus operator at Copacabana bus terminus, said he did not foresee any construction of infrastructure at the rank and this was likely to affect their work.

“City council is doing nothing to develop this place. Most of the roads have potholes and there is no infrastructure where our customers can wait to avoid the blazing sun and rains. This greatly affects our job because commuters opt for private cars which do not take long to load,” he said.

“There is dirt everywhere and we do not have hope that the situation will get better because now it’s been years and nothing has improved.”

Commuters have expressed dissatisfaction with council’s negligence on the construction of infrastructure as this drains their already strained pockets by forcing them to board non-Zupco kombis.

“We understand that this is the duty of City of Harare, but so far we see nothing, yet it has started raining already. Soon the rains will increase to a point that we have to spend hours in Zupco queues which will force us to use kombis which charge $7 or more when it is raining,” said another commuter, Anotida Siziba

However, Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said various companies submitted their bids to help in the construction of bus termini which are currently being evaluated.

“We have companies that are dealing with construction of the bus termini and in return they will advertise on billboards at the stations, so they will get their money back,” he said.

“We have a model bus terminus in Queensdale, so we can replicate the model across the city making some of the structures bigger than the one at Queensdale Shopping Centre.”

But Mr Chideme would not be drawn into giving a timeline for the construction work.

As it stands, commuters will have to endure the elements for a long time to come.

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