Government “Bans” Private Kombis
17 May 2020
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GOVERNMENT intends to extend the ban on privately-owned commuter omnibuses (kombis) beyond the national lockdown and will only allow them to operate under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise.

This is part of elaborate plans to de-congest urban centres and modernise the public transport system.

Kombis have been barred from operating since the lockdown started on March 30.

In his lockdown measures review speech yesterday, President Mnangagwa extended the ban indefinitely.

He said only Zupco-contracted kombis would be allowed on the roads.

Authorities intend to take advantage of depressed numbers of urban commuters during the lockdown to revamp and modernise the urban mass public transport system through deploying high-volume buses.

The Sunday Mail has gathered that Government has directed Zupco to invite interested kombi owners to register under its franchise as the number of commuters has increased following the relaxation of the lockdown rules.

Zupco is currently operating with 507 conventional buses and 500 commuter omnibuses, and is looking for an additional 500 kombis.

This comes as authorities were intensifying efforts to import new buses for inner and inter-city travel.

Local Government and Public Works Minister Dr July Moyo told this publication that there is no guarantee that kombis will be allowed back on the roads after the lockdown.
“We have been trying to build Zupco,” said Dr Moyo.

“So, throughout the lockdown we have said Zupco should operate. When we moved to Level 2, we knew there would be more people requiring transportation.

“We then asked Zupco to call for more kombis and buses to come and register and at the same time we will be introducing more buses. So the plan is to make sure that we strengthen urban bus transportation through Zupco so that we can bring sanity to the operations.”

He said urban transport systems operating through centrally managed high-volume buses were the trend globally. Informal transporters, said Minister Moyo, were the source of chaos in urban centres, particularly Harare.-State media