Byo kombi operators snub Zupco deal

BY NIZBERT MOYO

BULAWAYO transport operators have snubbed the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco)’s offer to partner them in the urban mass public transport system, citing unworkable conditions that will throw most of their drivers and conductors out of employment.

Tshova Mubaiwa chairperson Atlas Moyo told Southern Eye yesterday that they failed to reach a consensus with Zupco authorities this week as it was a take it or leave offer.

“The conditions are impracticable and tantamount to give employment to other people from outside Bulawayo as we are supposed to surrender our vehicles to Zupco so that they will look for their own drivers who are likely to come from outside the region,” he said.

“We were told that we will have to surrender our kombis from 4am to 10pm and they become Zupco property during that period and they will only give them back to us in the event of a breakdown.

“We have said no to this. Anyone who will agree to this deal will have to cease to be under our association.”

Moyo said they were invited by Zupco authorities on Tuesday to discuss the matter and after failing to reach an agreement, they advised the owners to meet with the officials.

Transport operator Keeper Ndlovu said they were waiting for the finalisation of the meeting with Zupco Government is reportedly trying to rope in commuter omnibus operators under its comprehensive urban public transport system, a situation that will result in reduced fares for city dwellers.

The Zupco franchise has since been reportedly extended to urban commuter omnibus operators in Harare, where passengers are charged $2 for a local trip that is pegged at $4 by operators who are not on the scheme.

Zupco acting chief executive officer Evaristo Madangwa said he was in a meeting and would call back later yesterday.

Divisional operations manager Tineyi Rwasoka had on Wednesday told the media that they had managed to register 18 omnibuses under the Zupco programme.

He said a trip will cost $2 and indicated that the majority of operators were reluctant to join the scheme citing differences over operating conditions.

“We have since registered 18 kombis and we expect them to start this evening (Wednesday). However, we are struggling to engage more operators, especially those from associations as they are not happy with what we are offering,” Rwasoka was quoted as saying.

Moyo, the Tshova Mubaiwa chairperson, said only three kombis out of over 600 joined the scheme.

He said they were required to surrender their vehicles to Zupco on condition that each kombi will be given two drivers on a shift basis and they would be paid by the owner.