BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) says it is planning to regularise all pirate taxis operating in the city as part of measures to restore sanity in the city.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to recent minutes of the council’s town, lands and planning committee meeting, councillors admitted the local authority was fighting a losing battle against pirate taxis operating at several illegal pick-up points in the city.
The minutes said regularising operations of the pirate taxis would fall under its public transport policy which calls for, among other things, having timetables to ensure an efficient and reliable public transport system.
“Councillor James Sithole said that the report was a true reflection of what was happening on the ground. Council should consider small pirate vehicles. Economic hardships had led to such activities,” the minutes read in part.
“It was prudent to regularise than to enforce. Enforcements were very expensive. Small pirate vehicle owners could be mobilised and encouraged to form a company. They should be given a chance to consider purchasing bigger buses for urban transportation purposes,” the committee noted.
The latest decision comes in the wake of several raids on illegal taxis, most of which have turned violent.
“The deputy chairperson [Councillor Thabitha Ngwenya] felt that relevant public transport by- laws should be enforced. There were now a lot of illegal pick-up points in the city centre along Fort Street from Leopold Takawira Street right up to 13th Avenue. The economy is bad, but there is need for sanity in the city,” the councillors said.
The council in 2011 came up with a public transport policy to control movement of passenger vehicles in the city.
Under the policy, only registered vehicles are allowed to offer public transport service in the city.
Currently, there are three registered commuter omnibus companies: Tshova Mubaiwa Co-operative, Bulawayo City Transport Trust and Bulawayo United Public Transport Association.