Just yesterday, Zimbabweans were celebrating Workers Day as a country. We get to reflect as a country on the progress that we are making in advancing the welfare of workers.
It is workers that contribute to the vision that we have as a country. Any vision, whether set to be achieved today or 9 years later would only be a pipeline dream without workers.
The idea of a public transport system in Zimbabwe is ideal on paper. It comes with a controlled and affordable fare which is attractive to any worker in Zimbabwe, considering the economic situation.
The government of Zimbabwe re-introduced the mass public transportation system in 2019 under the auspices that private operators were increasing prices willy-nilly, ripping off workers of their 2 cents.
ZUPCO and private operators worked together until the transport gods turned their backs on us even through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Private operators were suspended from operating. A year later they remain suspended. The pandemic gave the government a window they were desperately looking for to hijack the public transport system in the country.
After toiling for eight good hours, all workers will be rushing to get home, rest and be fresh for the next day. Ideal, but they have to wait for another 3 hours standing in the queue.
Everything has to happen on time, meaning workers have to get to work on time. The nightmare even comes knocking in the morning when they have to get to work. Some non-productive hours spent looking for transport.
The government must quickly realise that the public transport system is not a power struggle, which would want to monopolize. Some transport co-operations were and can be doing better in other parts of the country.
Recently, in a shocker move companies and institutions were asked to register their staff buses under ZUPCO or risk being banned from operating. At least make it make sense.
If the government is not looking forward to productive relationship with private players in the industry, then they should provide more vehicles to consistently ply routes on time and conveniently.
The bus terminals are crowded, posing a conducive environment for the very potential health hazard we are trying to stop.
At this point, it is crystal clear that ZUPCO is overwhelmed and is failing dismally to handle the pressure. We need more buses and if we cannot then this is the right time to engage private operators for a healthy competition.