BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has condemned the state of most conventional buses operating under the Zupco franchise, describing them as unroadworthy and death traps to the commuting public.
At the height of escalating private commuter omnibus fares, Zupco integrated old conventional buses to operate as urban public transporters.
PAZ has blamed the aging Zupco fleet and poor maintenance for the majority of accidents recorded in most cities across the country.
PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati said the majority of Zupco buses were not fit for public transportation, posing a serious danger to passengers.
“We have seen a sharp increase in accidents involving Zupco buses. Some of the buses being used to carry passengers are not road worthy,” he said.
Goliati said they did not understand how some of the buses got clearances to operate.
“Even if you take someone who has no idea about cars and buses, they will clearly tell you that these buses are not roadworthy and not fit to carry passengers,” Goliati said.
“Some of the buses do not have brakes, stones are used to stop them when loading passengers and these buses are being used to transport passengers. This is a death trap for passengers.”
Last Saturday, 21 passengers were injured along Lytton Road in Harare after a Zupco bus driver failed to negotiate a curve. Another Zupco bus driver last month lost control of the vehicle at Mbare’s Mupedzanhamo market and rammed into a pillar, injuring over a dozen pedestrians.
A woman in Bulawayo last month also escaped death by a whisker after a Zupco bus veered off the road in the city centre, and sped towards her while she was standing on a pavement.
Zupco southern region manager Tinaye Ruwasako said they had not received such reports in Bulawayo.
“We do not have such reports in Bulawayo, maybe check with Harare,” Ruwasoka said.
Zupco chief executive officer Evaristo Mdangwe was not reachable on his mobile yesterday. Messages sent to him had not been responded to by the time of going to print last night.