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Safety of passengers under spotlight as pirate taxis menace continues


Story by Peter Chivhima

The proliferation of pirate taxis plying local routes and the country’s highways has become a major cause for concern amid disorderly conduct and general disregard for road regulations.

Illegal transporters continue to cause havoc in the transport sector where they are exposing commuters to various forms of abuse.

The chaos is visible at most drop-off and pick-up points where trucks and pirate taxis battle for passengers with very little or no attention to the safety of commuters.

This news crew witnessed an accident involving a private taxi, whose driver fled the scene.

A commuter told the ZBC News, “I just saw that vehicle coming from the wrong lane before he hit me. I asked him what was going on and he told me that he just lost control, however, he fled the scene and all the passengers disembarked.”

Commuters who spoke to ZBC News raised safety concerns associated with boarding pirate taxis, amid increasing cases of robbery and abuse.

“We are being robbed after boarding private vehicles. They pose to be good people but we end up getting robbed,” a commuter said.

“It is so painful that you get robbed by people to whom you would have paid your money. What we think is that those found on the wrong side should be given a tough sentence so that others won’t do that again,” another said.

Last week on Thursday, a woman, Milca Tondori of Hopley, Harare who was travelling with her husband Rodrick Kembo jumped out of a moving pirate taxi after being attacked by three suspected robbers.

Pirate taxi drivers have also become targets.

A driver said, “We are not safe. Last month I was robbed after I was hired by a certain man who was together with someone whom he claimed to be his wife. They hired me to Southlea Park and when we reached a certain place the man purported to relieve himself. That is when I was tied up by a rope and robbed of all my cash.”

Another said, “We don’t know how we should be assisted; we are being robbed. At times, we get hired by very old women, but when you reach the destination, you are blocked by another vehicle.”

The Second Republic has however made significant strides in revamping the mass public transport sector and invoked Statutory Instrument 138 to allow duty-free imports of buses by private players.