ZUPCO has increased fares for buses and kombis by 25 percent so that they buy enough fuel to ferry commuters to their destinations around the country.
In Bulawayo on Monday morning, commuters woke up to the news that Zupco drivers had gone on strike over salaries as they wanted a pay rise.
This left thousands of the commuting public stranded as they tried to get to work at the mercy of pirate taxi operators who charged up to $100 per trip during the morning peak hour.
However, yesterday morning, normalcy returned, but Zupco buses and kombis had increased fares from $40 to $50 and $50 to $60 respectively.
Zupco chief executive officer Mr Everisto Madangwa said the fare increase was effected on October 15.
“Yes, the fares have been increased by 25 percent. We want to be able to buy fuel to transport our customers, so we want to make it as affordable as possible, while keeping the business viable,” said Mr Madangwa.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association secretary Mr Thembelani Dube said the price increase took many people by surprise.
“We are hearing from the people that boarded Zupco kombis from town and it seemed most people were still not aware that the fare had increased to $60,” said Mr Dube.
“Zupco being the sole transporter and those who aren’t part of it are illegal, so once they strike residents are the ones affected. They can’t go to work on time like what happened yesterday (Monday). Therefore, the pirate taxis increased their prices to cash in.”
Mr Dube urged authorities at Zupco to ply all routes in Bulawayo.
“Even if they put the train in place, which is a noble idea, it will service only the routes where there’s a rail line. Other places will be left out.
There are many routes that aren’t serviced by Zupco and pirate taxis take advantage of this situation,” said Mr Dube.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) chairman Mr Winos Dube, said economic challenges are affecting everyone including the commuting public.
“Some of our residents have said the increase isn’t fair as when Zupco started it was meant to cater for the majority of middle and lower-class people, so that they don’t fail to get to work.
But now it seems there is no difference between Zupco ‘of the people’ and private transporters or other associations within the transport industry,” he said.