THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has reduced its fares which were hiked a fortnight ago and redeployed intercity buses to urban routes.
Commuters have been facing transport challenges due to limited numbers of Zupco buses and kombis servicing cities and towns. The commuters were now being forced to board kombis and private cars operating illegally.
Zupco increased fares early this month which saw commuters forking out $60 for a bus from $30 and $80 for kombis from $50. The new development saw illegal kombis being a preferred option as they were now cheaper. Pirate kombis charge $50 per trip.
In a statement, Zupco said it had reduced its fares to $40 for a bus and $60 for a kombi for most urban routes.
For a distance of 21 to 40km commuters will pay $60 for a bus and $80 for a kombi while 31 to 40km distance will cost $80 for a bus.
“Following the announcement by His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa on new lockdown measures and in discussion with the Minister of Local Government and Public Works Hon July Moyo, measures have been put in place to reduce congestion in urban centres and eliminate illegal transport modes.
All intercity buses will be redeployed to urban operations to increase carrying capacity and efficiency,” read the statement.
The bus company said it will continue to operate under the curfew guidelines.
“Our buses will be deployed as a per scheduled timetables. We are pleased to announce an immediate down review of fares. For a distance of zero to 20km our new fare is $40 for a bus and $60 for a commuter omnibus. 21 to 40km will be $60 for a bus and $80 for a commuter omnibus while 31 to 40km will cost $80 for a bus,” read the statement.
The bus company also said Covid-19 protocols such as sanitisation of passengers, temperature checks and enforcement of mask wearing will also be done.
Commuters visiting the CBD for any business other than employment have been encouraged to travel between 8.30AM and 3.30PM to avoid congestion and overcrowding at bus terminuses during peak hours. People have also been urged to use designated bus stops.
“In addition to our previous payment methods we have introduced pre-ticketing system to avoid delays in dispatching our buses. Passengers can still use the tap card, mobile money, cash and swipe to pay for the bus fare,” said the statement.
Government has mandated Zupco to be the sole public transporter in urban areas and all private kombis and buses that want to provide the same service have to operate under the ambit of Zupco.
When a Chronicle news crew visited the Zupco bus terminus at City Hall yesterday, touts of pirate kombis could be seen canvassing for passengers.
Commuters who spoke to Chronicle yesterday expressed relief over the reduction of Zupco fares.
Mr Norman Dube from Mahatshula suburb said soon after Zupco increased fares, he resorted to boarding pirate kombis but was now back to Zupco kombis.
“It’s a relief that the fares have gone down because it no longer made sense to board a bus for $60 when a pirate kombi is $50. Now at least we have a reason to board Zupco buses although there is still room to reduce the fares even further so that there is a big difference between Zupco buses and pirate kombis,” he said.
Another commuter, Ms Sithandile Nkomo from Hope Fountain area said she felt uncomfortable boarding pirate kombis but at times she had to because of limited Zupco buses.
“Before Government banned pirate kombis, we knew that we could get transport at any time. That is the scenario that we expect under this new transport system which only allows Zupco to operate. Now that intercity buses have been redeployed to urban centres, we should have adequate buses servicing our area,” she said.