Commuters plying the Harare to Dorowa route are being charged $20 instead of the normal $9 while those travelling from Harare to Murehwa are reportedly being charged fares ranging between $10 to $15 instead of the usual $3 among other rural routes.
Clarence Mutombo, a commuter omnibus driver who plies the Chitungwiza-Harare city route said most transporters divert from their usual urban routes to the rural areas because that is where there is brisk business.
Said Mutombo: “Traditionally, there is more demand for transport going to the rural areas because people will be travelling to their rural areas to spend Christmas with their families.
Commuters expressed concern at the latest development and challenged the law enforcement agents to curb such an illegal development.
Others said they were cancelling their journeys because the fares were unrealistic.
Said Tatenda Deure from Dzivarasekwa in Harare, who intended to travel to Murehwa: “I am cancelling my journey because how can I be expected to pay five times more?
“This is not fair considering that life is very difficult for everyone. We are hardly getting any surplus money to save and we can hardly afford to put food on the table three times a day,” said the 35 year old vendor.
A woman who refused to be identified accused the police of exhibiting double standards in effecting their duties.
“Most of the kombis belong to police officers. Commuters will be charged these fares and these public transporters will get away with it,” she said, adding that because Christmas time was the only time that the family had a get together, she was forced to pay the fare and be with the rest of her family.
“Due to financial challenges, it is now our family tradition to meet at our rural home once every year. I cannot afford to miss Christmas at home.”
Said Innocent Dhambuza from Shurugwi in Midlands: “The Shurugwi Gweru route is now $2 instead of the usual $1 and I am sure that the police are aware of this.
“Commuter omnibus operators do it every year and they get away with it. If the police were serious about curbing this illegal practice, I am sure that they would have put mechanisms to ensure that commuters are not taken advantage of this festive season,” he said.
Said Farai Vera from Chitungwiza: “Due to the high demand for transport, commuters overload passengers and when accidents occur, people die in large numbers.
“The police should arrest commuters who overload passengers and passengers should also refuse to be treated like bags of cement. They should not let their desperation for transport compromise their safety,” she said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Republic Police were futile.Post published in: News