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Zupco's marriage with contracted buses extended

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2024 at 07:46hrs | Views
Zupco's contracts with private bus owners, due to end yesterday, have been extended for another month under better conditions as negotiations are still underway.

A committee has since been set up through the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to either remodel the relationship or terminate it.

There are fears that terminating the contracts could disadvantage passengers through fare hikes on some routes.

While competition can keep kombi fares down on some routes, on others they have drifted up and can also be set higher at busier periods during the day.

Franchised buses have to charge the Zupco fares agreed with the Government.

Most Zupco contracted buses were parked yesterday with drivers complaining of shortage of fuel saying Zupco had said it was "incapacitated" to provide enough for their four trips per day.

Asked about the ending of contracts with private bus operators, Zupco operations manager Linda Samunderu said: "Negotiations are still underway."

Businessman and prominent bus operator Mr Esau Mupfumi said operators were given a reprieve.

"We were given a month to continue with our operations while negotiations are underway. This is quite pleasing as negotiations are looking at people's welfare first," he said.

"We do not want them to feel the pinch of mushikashika. The issue should not look at profits only, but consider the welfare of people. Government is there for the people and should cater for their needs."

Mr Mupfumi said a new committee had been set up to deal with the Zupco impasse.

"The committee has four bus operators, Zupco officials and officials from the Ministries of Local Government and Public Works and of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion," he said.

"It will be chaired by an official from the Local Government Ministry, Emmanuel Ngwarati. We are going to meet next Friday for deliberations and then write a report to Finance Permanent Secretary Mr George Guvamatanga by March 15."

Mr Ngwarati declined to comment, stating that he was not permitted by his office to speak to the media.

Source - The Herald