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'Efficient public transport system crucial'

by Staff reporter
12 Dec 2021 at 20:00hrs | Views
The ongoing modernisation of the economy and increase in productivity requires an efficient public transport system as enunciated in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

This was said by President Mnangagwa yesterday during the commissioning of 90 more Zupco buses at the Glamis Arena at Harare's Exhibition Park.

The commissioning of the buses brings the Zupco fleet to 789 from the 77 the utility had when its modernisation drive began in 2018 and is aimed at meeting its target of 1 500 buses by the end of next year.

Yesterday's event came barely a week after the President commissioned a fleet of 13 buses and 30 service delivery vehicles for the Public Service Commission to address the transport needs of public servants.
Since the modernisation started the public transporter has also seen its employment figures growing from around 380 to over 6 000.

President Mnangagwa yesterday pledged continued support to Zupco.

The importation of more buses over the last 12 months, has not only boosted the Zupco fleet, but has started the process of standardising models, easing maintenance and allowing good stocks of spares.

"The addition of these 90 buses to the existing fleet, bolsters our ongoing quest to guarantee the provision of efficient, reliable, safe, and affordable public transport services, for mass rural and urban areas, as enunciated in the National Development Strategy 1," President Mnangagwa said.

"The ongoing growth, modernisation and industrialisation of the economy, with its attendant increased production and productivity, give impetus to the need for a more efficient and affordable public transport sector.

"Zupco, as the strategic national public transport service provider and also as an enabler for the speedy attainment of Vision 2030, will receive Government's continued support."

The President challenged Zupco to carry out its mandate, guided by high standards of professionalism, integrity and prudent financial management practices.

He commended the transport utility for adopting digital platforms to penetrate the market.

"However, this must be complemented with entrenching the values and standards outlined on your Client Service Charter, which include quality and timely service delivery, etiquette, propriety and professionalism among the workers.

"Capacity building to achieve this must not only be extended to both Zupco employees and those of contracted buses and omnibuses. The Zupco brand should grow to be the public transport provider of choice, in all respects," President Mnangagwa said.

He challenged Zupco to continue defining and establishing an operating system that is alive to the nation's economic development realities, in both urban and rural areas and said the growth of its fleet should see it servicing its routes more efficiently, particularly during peak hours, while at the same time providing employment opportunities to many.

The President commended the transport utility for employing women drivers including three who were part of the contingent that went to collect them at Durban.

"Furthermore, the management and staff of Zupco are exhorted to explore additional strategic areas of potential growth and future investment.

"The accelerated implementation of the Devolution and Decentralisation Agenda, must see the management of Zupco deploying more buses to all parts of the country, informed by the mantra, ‘leaving no one and no place behind'.

"To this end, the rural development and industrialisation drive must be complemented by a reliable and affordable public transport system towards supporting the various economic activities of our people," he said.

On the current construction, rehabilitating and modernisation of road infrastructure in all parts of the country, under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme, the President said this would continue into 2022 and ensure efficiency of the country's transport system, while at the same time enhancing road safety.

The President said the yesteryear lethargic approach of Zupco, characterised by corruption and mismanagement of resources, among other vices, would not be condoned.

"It is commendable that the ongoing partnership with the Harare Institute of Technology has seen the deployment of ICT based innovations for the establishment of a digital transport management system.

"The bus tracking system, e-fuelling and e-ticketing should be deployed more expansively to further reduce cases of pilferage and increase revenue collection," he said.

In view of the upcoming festive season and the threat posed by the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Mnangagwa challenged the transport sector and nation to remain vigilant and adhere to public health guidelines religiously.

He also urged those yet to be vaccinated to go and get their jabs.
President Mnangagwa recently directed police to continue manning security checkpoints to ensure that only designated transport operators continued to be the provider of public transport.

He said private transport operators had abused Government's empowerment initiatives extended to them over the years through charging exorbitant fares and failure to provide good customer care.

Source - The Chronicle
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