Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Zimbabweans resort to bikes amid soaring fuel prices

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2022 at 19:54hrs | Views
SOARING fuel costs and the economic crunch in Zimbabwe are leading people to switch to using bicycles as their main mode of transport.

Over the past year, the country has seen petrol prices jump 120%.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the eve of World Cycling Day, which is being observed yesterday, Trynos Mungwaru (41), a nurse at a government hospital in the capital Harare, said he has parked his car in his backyard and is now using a bicycle to attend his duties.

Expressing happiness at this trend, environmentalist Pritchard Musana said bicycles do save money and also protect the environment as they do not emit any gas.

"The rising fuel prices and the high cost of living are coming as a blessing in disguise in Zimbabwe because many people now realise the importance of using bicycles which are simple, affordable, reliable and environmentally clean for they do not release any pollution," Musana told Anadolu Agency.

The minimum local transport fare in Harare now ranges around $2 per trip, which is a hole-in-a-pocket for a person like Mungwaru, who earns less than $100 per month.

"I can't afford public transport now because the readily available taxis are more expensive and the government buses which are a bit affordable are just a very few to take the load of passengers," Mungwaru said.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has been on record announcing new fuel prices at the start of each month. Even the blending of fuel with ethanol has not helped to control the fuel prices.

The annual inflation has hiked to 131,7% from 96,4% in April, with food prices increasing more than 150% from a year earlier.

To save costs on transportation to spare something for purchasing food, Mungwaru said he abandoned using his car and took to cycling.

Taxing bicycles
Evelyn Gava (18), a student in Harare, also uses a bicycle for transportation.

"My parents both of whom are civil servants have brought me a bicycle because they can't pay me money for transport fare. At home, they want to buy food for us and also pay my school fees and that of my siblings and that is just too heavy for them," she said.

Gava said the World Cycling Day for her and many other Zimbabweans are to adopt cycling and save money on transportation to buy essentials like food.

The cyclists, however, lament the taxes imposed on bicycles.

Last year, local authorities in this country introduced a license fee of $15 annually for bicycles and $17 for tricycles, said Mungwaru.

The failure to pay the bicycle license fee can invoke prosecution and a person can be sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine.

He, however, added that the bicycle license fee was still better and fits in his pocket than having to buy fuel for the car.

Source - Anadolu Agency