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Police operation targets buses

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2022 at 19:54hrs | Views
POLICE in Bulawayo have launched an operation targeting long distance buses using illegal pick-up points, impounding the vehicles and arresting both drivers and passengers.

The operation started on Wednesday and on Thursday morning, police officers were involved in running battles with long-distance buses who load passengers at undesignated spots.

A Chronicle news crew observed a police Ford Focus and three Bulawayo City Council pick-ups, filled with police officers and council police officers pursuing two buses loaded with passengers along Netherby Drive in Paddonhurst suburb.

The buses were coming from an illegal pick-up point along Harare Road.

Residents who were waiting for transport to the city centre were left bemused as the high-speed chase looked dangerous not only to the police who were hanging on at the back of the pick-ups, but also to people in the neighbourhood as well as passengers who were in the two buses.

Many times, residents have expressed their dismay over illegal pick-up points as their complaints seem to have fallen on deaf ears as the buses and touts wake up every day to work on the roads. Some of the touts will be drinking alcohol and relieving themselves on trees that now have a distinct stench of urine.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said the operation was aimed at ridding the city of buses that are congesting the roads at undesignated pick-up points.

"There is an operation that started on June 1, where we are arresting and impounding buses that are loading passengers at undesignated points around the city. This causes chaos on our roads as the buses block traffic which causes congestion on our roads. There is a lot of touting and harassing of people at these places, and as police we want to bring sanity on our roads," said Asst Insp Msebele.

She identified problematic spots around the city, such as Harare Road from Joshua Mqabuko Street up to Samuel Parirenyatwa Street; 3rd Avenue and Fife Street, outside Highlanders Football Club; at Amakhosi Cultural Centre and at the Centenary Park.

Asst Insp Msebele said apart from the buses that are going to be impounded, passengers will also be arrested. "Those who are boarding at undesignated points around the city will face arrest. The vehicle, the driver and the passengers will be arrested and fined. This is to encourage people to use designated points," she said.

Some bus operators are not happy because they park at Renkini Long Distance Bus Terminus and it takes a long time for them to get passengers at these illegal pick-up points.

"Something must be done to protect us. Why should we be the people who are suffering when we are law abiding citizens? These guys don't pay anything at Renkini, but there seems to be nothing being done there. Even the passengers are now few, because it has become convenient for them to go to Harare Road and get transport there," said a bus operator who declined to be named.

Another said some bus operators will continue to use illegal spots because the fine is not deterrent. "When they are arrested, the fine is around $2 000. This is nothing. Look, these guys load a bus for on average US$10 for a trip to Gweru and what is $2 000 as a fine. If they want them to stop, the fine should be more; really hurting their pockets," said another bus operator.

Source - The Chronicle
More on: #Police, #Bus, #Targets