BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) yesterday blamed the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses for being COVID-19 super spreaders, saying the company was failing to comply with the stipulated COVID-19 containment measures.
PAZ co-ordinator Tafadzwa Goliati yesterday told NewsDay that Zupco buses were not being disinfected, while passengers were not being sanitised while also crammed in the poorly-ventilated buses.
“As PAZ we are not happy over Zupco’s failure to comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 requirements as this poses a threat to the lives of passengers,” he said.
“They are not in compliance with COVID-19 regulations, and as passengers we are not being sanitised as we enter. There is no social distancing at the bus queues and some passengers are not properly wearing masks once they enter the bus.”
Goliati said government had totally ignored passengers’ right to choose their preferred mode of transport.
“Some buses are not even roadworthy, but passengers do not have a choice, but to board them since they are dependent on them due to the Zupco monopoly. Government should consider the passengers’ views, but sadly, they are not being considered,” he said.
“Passengers are not safe. Most of the thermometers disbursed around the country are not working at all. There is no plan or action to help those found to be infected by the COVID-19 pandemic except being denied entry into the bus.”
Government has banned private kombis that used to argument Zupco, a move that has resulted in the transport utility struggling to cope with demand. The buses are often full to the brim, in violation of COVID-19 protocols.
However, Zupco southern region manager Tineyi Rwasoka said Zupco buses were safe as they were regularly disinfected.
“Our buses are now being disinfected after every trip from town to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Local Government minister July Moyo has been adamant that private commuter omnibuses remain banned.
He said private players, who wanted to operate, should join the Zupco franchise.