Bus fares soar as fuel pumps run dry

Bus fares soar as fuel pumps run dry

BULAWAYO - Commuter omnibus operators are set to increase transport fares soon by 90 % to $150 000 a single trip following fuel price increases last week.

This is the second fare increase in less than a month after commuter ope

rators raised fares from $50 000 to $80 000 citing high operational and fuel costs.

Since Friday most commuter operators have been charging $100 000 a single trip but indicated they would soon increase this to $150 000.

Garages in Bulawayo are selling a litre of petrol and diesel for $400 000-$450 000 a litre up from $300 000-$350 000 last Monday.

Despite the increase, most garages had virtually no fuel the whole week, leaving commuters stranded.  Bulawayo Transport Operators Association (BUTOWA) chairman, Francis Malunga said though they were yet to agree on new fares, $100 000 would see them operating at a loss.

“A trip for $100 000 only gives you $1.8 million yet 5 litres is more than $2.4 million. We do not know what to do as we are operating at a loss…The government is just quiet but arresting us for increasing fares yet everyone can see that the situation is bad…we have not met as an association to agree and finalise on new fares,” said Malunga.
Strike Ndlovu, Bulawayo Passenger Transport Association (BUPTA) chairman refused to talk to the press. He was once arrested for calling on operators to increase fares.

Cain Matema, the Governor and Resident Minister of Bulawayo Metropolitan province, who called for the arrest of operators charging $80 000, refused to comment. The latest fare increase comes at a time the government was yet to approve the $80 000 commuter fares.  

A fortnight ago, the Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) was granted permission by the police to stage  demonstrations against $80 000 transport fares. But the demonstrations were flop. – CAJ News



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