ZUPCO to boost current fleet for intra-city services

By John Nhandara

THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) says it is in the process of increasing its fleet of buses in the wake of increased demand for intra-city shuttle services by the commuting public.

This comes as the commuting public has called for more ZUPCO buses and commuter omnibuses to ease transport challenges especially during peak hours.

The need for more intra-city buses has also been necessitated by the reopening of schools.

While most passengers interviewed by ZBC News at Market Square and Fourth Street bus termini in Harare appreciate the ZUPCO facility, they cannot ignore the fact the fleet is inadequate.

“We call for relevant authorities to increase the fleet because as you can see there are long queues. Sometimes we wait for three hours without being ferried home and we are left with no option but to board Mushikashika,” said one commuter.

“There are some routes which do not have services such as in Budiriro CABS area so they must also consider giving us buses in the area,” added another.

In response, ZUPCO Acting Chief Executive Officer Everisto Madangwa said they are currently in the process of acquiring a fleet of about 400 buses after dispatching an additional 40 buses to ply intra-city routes in Harare last week.

“Currently we have a fleet of 1 104 buses and 1 530 commuter omnibuses countrywide. We released a batch of 40 buses last week for Harare. We are open to private sector players who wish to use our franchise. In the coming two moths we are expecting another batch of new buses from China to augment our fleet,” he said.

In an effort to bring sanity to the public transport system, government revived ZUPCO operations, with private players willing to operate under the franchise expected to register with the company.

However during peak hours, the commuting public has had to use undesignated pick-up points where they board pirate taxis or private cars to and from the Central Business District (CBD).

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has of late accused pirate taxis also known as Mushikashika of causing chaos and creating unnecessary traffic jams in the CBD.