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ZUPCO withdraws subsidised fuel from private operators

by Staff reporter
09 Nov 2022 at 00:18hrs | Views
BUS fares for peri-urban routes are set to increase following the decision by the state run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) to order privately-owned buses registered under its franchise to provide their own fuel.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government ordered all privately owned transport operators to join the ZUPCO franchise and banned those operators who were not willing to be part of the arrangement.

As part of the deal, the private operators were provided with subsidised fuel, making their fares relatively cheap.

In a letter dated November 3, ZUPCO Belvedere Depot Manager, Toto Chirau announced that the company will no longer be providing fuel as of 10 November.

"You are being advised to revert to the gazetted fare of ZWL800 on all peri-urban routes with effect from 4 November 2022.For passengers willing to pay in US$ , crews are urged to accept US$1 for a journey without any extra charge having to be passed on the passenger to avoid fare distortions.

"Passengers paying in US$ should be given a ticket matching the ZWL$800. Having listed the above, you are now mandated to buy your own fuel with effect from the 10th of November 2022 as all highway buses are doing," reads part of Chirau's memo.

However, private bus operators who spoke to said following ZUPCO's move, they will be forced to either withdraw from the franchise or adjust their fares upward.

"There is no way I can continue charging old fares when I am no longer receiving cheap fuel. Now that ZUPCO has withdrawn the fuel facility, operators will now source their fuel from different service stations which have got different charges.

"This will obviously affect our pricing model. In short, commuters should expect an increment in fares starting from Thursday," said a private bus operator who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

Recently, the High Court ruled that ZUPCO's monopoly is unlawful leading to some private players pulling out of the deal and opting to join various public transport associations.

In Bulawayo, most commuters are now shunning ZUPCO buses and are now depending mostly on the Bulawayo United Passenger Taxis Association, (BUPTA) and Tshova Mubaiwa transport operators.

Source - NewZimbabwe
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