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Buses turn Bulawayo's parks into ranks

by Staff reporter
21 Jul 2022 at 06:42hrs | Views
BUSES plying intercity routes are degrading Bulawayo through picking up passengers at undesignated points, with Central and Centenary Parks along Leopold Takawira Avenue Extension losing their allure as a result of the violation of the city's by-laws.

Long distance buses that ply the Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Bulawayo-Harare roads are the main culprits.

On a daily basis, crews of bus companies that include CAG, Joma, Inter Africa, Farwest park their buses along Leopold Takawira Extension opposite Centenary Park touting for passengers.

This comes as the Bulawayo City Council seems to be fighting a losing battle in dealing with the errant bus crews who are resisting moving to Renkini Bus Terminus where they are expected to pick up passengers.

Along Leopold Takawira Avenue Extension, buses used to park adjacent to Eveline High School but the local authority has since placed bins and ropes preventing the bus crews from parking there.

Instead of returning to Renkini Bus Terminus, the defiant bus crews moved further down the street and now park their buses near the Bulawayo Theatre going to Bulawayo Museum.

The activities of the illegal bus operators have even attracted vendors who in turn, litter around Central and Centenary Parks.

Scores of hiking passengers were also at the scene.

On several occasions the police and municipal police officers conduct joint raids but this has not deterred the bus crews from returning to their usual spot.

Residents have said the bus crews are a nuisance as some shout obscenities, urinate in public cause noise pollution and littering.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said there is need for authorities to be strict in dealing with the errant bus crews.

"The touts who are operating from those areas are also harassing passengers, grabbing their bags. There is a need for authorities to act on them. They should have those buses impounded. Also, boarding from those undesignated points also threatens the security of passengers. We have seen police and municipal officers chasing after them but they continue to operate there," said Mr Ndlovu.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said fines paid by errant bus crews are not deterrent enough.

"We have raided and arrested some of the bus crews but the biggest challenge is the fines that are levied are too little. So, they pay the fine and continue with their operations," he said.

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Mlandu Ncube said council is in negotiations with Tendy Three Investment (TTI) to start raiding the bus operators as they are downgrading the city.

"Our challenge is that we are experiencing resource and manpower challenges in dealing with those buses including those operating from Bulawayo-Harare Road. Although a decision has not been resolved we are in negotiations with TTI to raid those buses and bring sanity to the city. The TTI mandate is only limited to the city's central business district but we believe they will be able to deal with those buses," said Cllr Ncube.

He said bus operators were operating in places without ablution facilities and their conduct could result in the outbreak of diseases.

"They also result in littering especially at the city's parks. They also cause traffic congestion at a busy road that connects Bulawayo to the outside world. Their conduct also damages the city's image that is why the city wants to take action sooner than later," he said.

Zimbabwe Passenger Transporters Association chairman Mr Samson Nanhanga acknowledged the problem that exists saying his association will today hold a meeting to deliberate on the issues.

He said the meeting will mainly be attended by players plying the Bulawayo-Harare Road routes.

"Without preempting what we will be discussing, we are aware of that challenge. We know that council and police have tried to address it. We want to say it is not just happening in Bulawayo but it's a countrywide problem. In some places the designated ranks have actually been shut down because of that problem. But I will want to say, a collective effort is needed to address this problem," said Mr Nanhanga.

He said while attention is given to bus operators, there is a need to also appreciate that they are not the only players in the sector as pirate taxis should be dealt with.

Mr Nanhanga said the attitude of passengers was also of concern as they are no longer patient to wait for buses to fill up at ranks.

"We have passengers who do not want to wait for buses. They just want to travel so buses may go to designated pickup points but there won't be passengers. In most cases, buses follow where passengers will be," said Mr Nanhanga.

Source - The Chronicle
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