Commuter operators hike fares

HARARE Errant commuter bus operators in Harare this week hiked fares by 100% up from 50c, sparking an outrage from commuters who defiantly resisted the hike.

A snap survey taken by this reporter in the city showed commuters stranded, some waiting in heavy rain, refusing to board the kombis that had hiked fares.

We believe these commuter bus operators are capitalizing on the heavy downpour and they think as commuters we have no alternative transport except to fall prey to their mad prices, said Vakayi Tsaurai, an irate commuter at a bus terminus close to Denenga supermarket.

Commuters defiantly ignored the touts who continued to announce the new US$1,00 per trip bus fares. But a few desperate commuters who had been soaked by the rain agreed to pay as they desperately wanted to get home.

Soldiers from Dzivarasekwa Extenskion Presidential Guard, who also wanted transport home, stood in solidarity with ordinary commuters as they urged them to resist the exorbitant fares.

People should refuse to board any kombi that hikes bus fare unceremoniously, said one soldier.

One kombi driver who spoke to this reporter indicated that it was not the first time they were hiking fares. He said they always capitalized on situations.

This time we capitalized on the heavy rains, knowing that commuters had no option, said Tinashe Zviuya, who runs the KuwadzanaCity route.

Up to the time of going to print, most commuters remained defiant at bus terminuses in the city, refusing to pay the new prices.

During the festive season, commuter bus operators doubled fares citing a rise in transport demand, which angered commuters.

Police Superintendent, Andrew Phiri, could not deny nor confirm the reports, but stressed that his office would not hesitate to crackdown on unscrupulous kombi operators.

I cannot say yes or no to such reports, but what I can tell you is that our police wont hesitate to crack down on unscrupulous commuter operators, said Phiri.

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