By A Correspondent- Commuters have described as unfair the decision by the police to fine members of the public who board buses, kombis and Mushikashika not registered under the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) franchise.
Police recently announced that commuters who board non-ZUPCO vehicles risk fines of $2 000 each, as they step up operations against errant buses, commuter omnibus and private car operators who continue defying COVID-19 regulations.
But commuters have attributed the boarding of unregistered buses, kombis and mushikashika which are operating illegally to the lack of ZUPCO buses and kombis across the country.
In separate interviews with the state media, the commuters said the fines were unfair as police must assess the transport situation before coming up with such a punitive measure.
They said another reason why they used the mushikashika was that they would want to get home before the curfew kicks in.
Beauty Maphosa said: “The police must understand that there are not enough Zupco buses for everyone and that not all of us have private vehicles, so they must scrap the fines and encourage those who are hitchhiking to follow the COVID-19 health guidelines”.
Soneni Matore said:
“The reason why we go to mushikashika is that there will be no ZUPCO buses or kombis at the rank. The other thing is that when a Zupco bus leaves, it takes more than an hour for another bus to come and pick up passengers.”
Jabulani Mhlanga: “We do not want to board pirate taxis, but we have no choice otherwise we will be stranded in town until late. If you notice, after 7 pm you rarely find any ZUPCO bus or kombi in town, so the only available alternative is mushikashika.”
Knowledge Mutasa said: “If they want people to use authorised ZUPCO buses, the Government should extend the curfew hours maybe to 8 pm and increase the number of ZUPCO buses and kombis. If they do so, I am sure all passengers will be in the ranks without fear of being caught offside after curfew hours.”