Bus operators pledge to end crisis

PUBLIC transport players have committed to revamp the sector with modern and customer-friendly buses to help manage the country’s unrelenting transport crisis.

Addressing delegates during a passenger safety and rights campaign in Harare on Tuesday, Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation (ZPTO) chairperson Sam Nhanganga said the commitment came after realising that more needed to be done to improve the country’s public transport situation.

“Zimbabwe transport operators have revised the need to go beyond the elementary nature of our core business, which is being transporters of commuters from one destination to another,” said Nhanganga.

“We have seen the need to invest in our customers’ key expectation and strive to go beyond them, in a modern world where transport service is in essence comfort, amenities and hospitality, of course not forgetting passengers’ safety and the need to treat passengers with respect while ensuring that their rights as consumers of our services and their dignity are upheld.”

He said ZPTO and other players in the industry had invested in the best and prestigious service vehicles in order to satisfy customers’ needs.

“Thus, we have imported and continue to import the best buses suitable for our roads and climate. They have the amenities and comfort for your travel whether on the highways or short local distances. These buses have passenger liability cover. What this means is that there is assurance of full compensation in the event of death or injury to the passenger,” he indicated.

Nhanganga, however, bemoaned constant cases of passengers using private cars and falling prey to robbers.

“However, we are worried and continue to lose sleep at night because of criminals who continue to do unthinkable things against unsuspecting and innocent commuters. For this reason, we have taken it upon ourselves to warn you of the existence of these private taxi operators,” he added.

In May, ZPTO promised to import over 1 300 buses.

The country’s passenger transport crisis earlier this year attracted global attention with Amnesty International accusing the Zanu PF government of refusing to end the Zupco monopoly.

This came as Zupco drivers and conductors had reportedly downed tools over salary and COVID-19 allowance arrears dating back to 2020, a development which was set to worsen public transport woes. As a result, commuters ended up spending hours on and in queues waiting for transport, while some risked life and limb travelling on bus carriers as Zupco buses failed to cope with demand.

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