Transport operators hike fares

BULAWAYO - Commuters woke up to a hefty 50% increase in public transport fares this week as the cost of living spirals out of control.
A single trip from Bulawayo city centre to the nearest low-income residential suburb now costs Z$80 000, up from the previous $50 000.
The chairman of the B

ulawayo Public Transport Association (BPTA), Strike Ndlovu said the latest increase was due to the difficult economic environment they were operating under.
“I will not comment much on this issue but transport operators are also feeling the economic pinch. They also have to survive, why are other business entities not stopped from effecting price and fare hikes in this tough economic climate?” Ndlovu said.
Public transporters in the capital Harare and other cities were also expected to hike fares within the week.
But the police, who in the past have arrested public transport operators for hiking fares, immediately threatened to descend on the operators saying they should increase fares only after first seeking approval from the government.
“Fare increases can only be effected when they have been gazetted by the government and commuter omnibus operators who over charge will be dealt with,” said Bulawayo police spokesman Andrew Phiri.
In a sign of more trouble to come for Zimbabwe, a leading regional financial services firm, Imara Asset Management, last Thursday said data collated from Zimbabwe’s key industrial sector indicated a sharp rise in inputs costs which could see annual inflation jumping to 2 000 percent.
The Botswana-based Imara was in mid-April able to predict that Zimbabwe’s inflation would breach the 1,000 percent barrier. The figure was confirmed when the Central Statistical Office announced at the end of last month that annual inflation had surged to 1,042.9 percent up from 913.6 percent in March. – ZimOnline

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