FOR Harare City Council it is always a case of one step forward, two steps back with their initiatives to bring normalcy in the capital always coming back to haunt tortured residents.
While it is commendable that council and police officers were finally deployed at commuter omnibus ranks after the reign of terror perpetrated by touts, the failure to build and in some cases restore basic infrastructure and take over the management of the transport sector means this lull is temporary at best.
As long as kombi drivers and rank marshals are left to their own devices, chaos will ensue one way or the other.
It is quite obvious terminus and traffic supervisors are needed at commuter omnibus ranks to maintain order permanently.
In their endeavour to “bring back sanity” to the capital city, council has closed some kombi ranks without bothering to create the space needed to accommodate them elsewhere.
In essence they are just eradicating chaos from one point and placing it in another.
For instance the eastern routes have all been packed together into the Fourth Street terminus, which was congested already, while some commuters from the southern, western and northern routes have also been left in limbo after their termini have also been changed.
Fourth Street terminus and adjacent roads have now become a haven of chaos, especially during peak hours. Clearly no consideration was made for the inconvenience to commuters in the making of this ad hoc decision.
Because some routes have been left without a rank to pick up and drop off passengers, commuters are forced to disembark and board the kombis at informal points.
An example of this is the Belvedere route where commuters have to look for kombis plying their route each time they want to go home.
Commuters are also not guaranteed of being dropped off in town when coming from home since the police might be on the prowl.
They are then ejected at any point and have to make up the distance on foot. The kombis and the police continue to play their cat and mouse games with the hapless passengers being reduced to bemused spectators.
Added to this, there are no designated bus stops in the city centre which makes any stop at any point illegal.
Is it not obvious that commuters need properly marked and convenient bus stops? If the kombis are such a menace where then is the alternative?
The council-inspired chaos makes a mockery of their claim that they will make Harare a “world-class city with a premium mass transport system”.