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Commuters complain over exorbitant fares

by Staff reporter
17 Jul 2023 at 01:54hrs | Views
COMMUTERS in Bulawayo have expressed concern over the exorbitant fares charged by transport operators in order to force them to pay in foreign currency.

The fares in local currency are ranging from $6 000 to $10 000 for a single trip while those paying in forex are charged R10 or US$0,50.

The operators hike fares during early morning rush hour and in the evening.

The Zimbabwean dollar is gaining against the US$ and commuters say they expected fares in local currency to be reduced but operators were doing the opposite.

The Government in 2019 introduced Zupco buses as part of its measures to protect commuters from unscrupulous operators but many routes no longer have the Zupco buses.

In interviews commuters said Government must provide more Zupco buses to service routes in the western suburbs.

Mr Onesimo Sibanda from Nketa suburb said his salary is now being eroded by transport fares being charged in local currency.

"When I started working around March everything was fine until kombis increased fares.

What surprises me is that prices of basic commodities in the shops have started dropping yet transport operators are doing the opposite," he said.

Mr Sibanda said commuters are now being forced to pay fares in forex which is what the operators want.

Another resident from Nkulumane suburb, Mr Ndumiso Zikhali accused transport operators of hiking fares during peak hours.

"I think these transport operators no longer want us to pay fares in local currency. I remember this other day I was charged $15 000, which was shocking," he said.

The associations for public transport operators in the city said their members have not increased the fares.

They said their problem was the commuters who refuse change in local currency when they pay using forex.

Tshova Mubaiwa and Bupta said the fares their members were charging in local currency were determined by the going exchange rate.

Tshova Mubaiwa's marketing director, Mr Ndabazabo Mabunda, said the kombi fares have not increased but the exchange rate was changing daily.

"Commuters are the ones forcing operators to charge more in local currency so that they are able to pay the rates demanded by those who would have paid in forex but are paid their change in local currency," said Mr Mabunda.

The Bupta administration director, Mr Alfred Ncube said the association had not increased fares but were just using the going exchange rate.

Source - The Chronicle