Andile Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau

Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has mobilised nearly 300 kombis to service suburban routes across the country, a development that has resulted in affordable fares for commuters.

Government extended the Zupco franchise to urban commuter omnibus operators across the country’s cities where people are charged $2 for a trip that is pegged at up to $5 by commuter operators.

In an interview yesterday, Zupco acting chief executive Mr Evaristo Madangwa said 280 kombis had been mobilised and were operational across the country.

“I am proud to say that already we have 280 kombis under the scheme,” he said.

“We are still far from our 1 000 kombi target, but so far work is progressing well.”

Mr Madangwa said the bus company was looking to engaging compliant operators with vehicles whose documents were in order.

“We do not just want any kombis, but we want vehicles that are licensed, roadworthy with certificates of fitness, operator’s licence and other necessary prerequisites for a public service vehicle,” he said.

Meanwhile, another batch of Zupco buses is expected in the country from South Africa within the next few weeks, as Government continues to step up efforts to alleviate transport woes in the country.

Speaking during a Zanu-PF rally at Stanley Square in Bulawayo recently, Vice President Kembo Mohadi said Government was aware of the plight of commuters.

He said Government was determined to address transport challenges through prioritising comprehensive urban public transport systems to increase convenience to the commuting public.

VP Mohadi said Government was committed to easing transport challenges by availing reliable and affordable transport to the people in line with Vision 2030 of transforming the country into an upper middle-income economy.

“The issue of transport is a challenge that Government is seized with,” he said.

“In the next few weeks we are expecting more buses to arrive in the country from South Africa to alleviate transport problems.

“The buses are at the assembly line in South Africa and although the coming batch will not be enough, it will somehow ease the transport challenges, particularly in our major cities.”