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Zimbabwean firm develops 120 passengers seater bus

by Staff reporter
05 Jan 2024 at 05:49hrs | Views
Returning to innovative solutions to help beat Zimbabwe's urban public transport woes, AVM Africa (Pvt) Ltd has developed a prototype 120-seater bus to provide the most cost-effective solutions on busy routes and yesterday showed this off to Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni and senior officials.

AVM used to dominate the Zimbabwean bus market, and some of its old buses are still earning their owners money, but has now come up with a replacement that can carry 120 passengers at once, – 20 seated and 100 standing with two exits, at the front and back. There are plenty of bus hangers for the standing passengers, and there is ample room for those standing.

Minister Nyoni said the Government must increase their support in innovation as it results in the realisation of new ideas, methods and production processes in addition to accelerating economic growth. It was imperative that the Government ensure that it augments its allocation towards the advancement of human capital.

Zimbabwe's goal was to import fewer goods and produce more domestically.

"The Government would love to see every sector of the economy grow including transport, so that we don't need to import buses," she said.

"In Zimbabwe, we have three companies that are manufacturing buses and AVM is one of them and we are encouraging them to come on board as we want to avoid importing things that we can make.

"It is amazing that Zimbabwe is still importing things that it can make and as a ministry, we are saying step by step we must stop importing things we can make ourselves and buses are part of that and today we are seeing a prototype of what we can do," she said.

AVM managing director Mr Jacob Zvainairo Kupa, said the new design will create more employment in both ways and will also ferry more people than other buses. The cost per customer was reduced since the 120 passengers would all use just one engine and drive train.

"This creates employment in the manufacturing side and also the supply side. These buses will help in terms of transporting people especially during the peak hours as it will carry 120 people at once," he said.

Mr Kupa said even though it only takes 22 days to produce one bus, more will be produced as soon as it is launched.

"In terms of production, it will take us 22 days to produce one bus, and we are looking forward to produce more this year alone.

"Currently we are waiting for the launching of this bus then after that production of more buses will start."  

Ms Abigail Ziso, who is behind the manufacturing and designing of the AVM prototype displayed yesterday, said: "We looked at the number of people that would want to go home in the morning and evening, so we have designed and manufactured a local bus to cater for their transport to and from town.

"The idea that made me design this bus was to at least have a bus that would be able to accommodate a lot of people as you can see in Harare after working hours a lot of people wanting to go home were not accommodated by the shortage of buses we were having," she said.

"And to do so was to have a bus that accommodates more standing passengers 100, and less seated passengers 20."

The acquisition of 550 new Zupco buses including electric ones running off batteries, is on course with both local and international firms currently bidding to supply, as the Government makes strides in improving public transport system.

In a notice, Zupco invited bidders to supply buses including 200 by 64-seater intercity buses, 100 by 64-seater rural buses, 50 electric 64-seater buses and 200 mini buses.

The bidding process closes on January 26.

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said this year the Government has budgeted to procure another 1 000 buses over the next two years and the first batch of 250 buses will be expected to be delivered in the first quarter.

"We are committed to this. I have emphasised to my Permanent Secretary, Mr George Guvamatanga, and the Zupco executives that some of these buses need to be green buses; we need some buses that use batteries.

"We must show that we also need some progress as a nation. We need some green buses; I think they have committed to 50 at least, that will run on batteries," he said.

Source - The Herald
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