Passengers in Harare Metropolitan were yesterday outraged over the new doubled Zupco fares that come into effect today, with the official transport operator now charging well above what the pirate kombis and mushikashika charge.
Zupco kombi fares, which were double the long bus fares, have also increased, but by less and are now just under one and half times the long bus fares.
The old $30 fare routes, those like Warren Park and Msasa Park, have doubled to $60 while the old $45 routes, the most common and the routes that serve suburbs and routes like Mabvuku-Tafara have also doubled from $45 to $90.
The Zupco kombis, most of which were on shorter routes and charging $60 will now charge $80 although those on $90 routes will charge $120.
The $80 kombi route is the same as the $60 bus route and the $120 kombi route is the $90 bus route.
The long $60 bus routes, such as to Norton, will be $110, and about the only long bus routes that do not quite double in price.
Mushikashika, casual commercial drivers and pirate kombis have already been undercutting Zupco and frequently charge $50 during midday and $60 at peak hours. These illegal services tend to concentrate on the shorter and medium routes.
On a Zupco bus, if you catch the bus halfway you still pay the full fare.
Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) president Mr Tafadzwa Goliath yesterday said the increase was a bitter pill to swallow for the commuters.
“This is hard for passengers as the hike is effected at a time when the Government has announced a level 4 lockdown,” he said.
A passenger at Copacabana terminus, Mr Alphos Chigondo said the fares should be affordable and reasonable.
“Surely no one will go and take hours queueing for a Zupco bus when they know they can easily “hike” and use an affordable private vehicle.”
Another passenger, Mrs Chidochemoyo Masvinunure said Zupco being a mass public transport system with a motto of being safe, reliable and affordable it should not have doubled fares.
“We are just crossing our fingers that our listening authorities will hear our plea and reduce the fares which are out of reach for many ordinary citizens,” he said. Zupco marketing and public relations officer Ms Sikhanyisiwe Ncube yesterday refused to comment on the increase referring questions to the acting chief executive Mr Evaristo Madangwa. Mr Madangwa could not be reached for comment.
As part of improving transport challenges, Government is buying 667 buses from China by year end, with delivery of the first batch of 100 buses expected soon.