THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will today host a crisis meeting with several stakeholders on the state of the transport sector and commuter omnibus fares in the city.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
BPRA acting coordinator, Emmanuel Ndlovu told Southern Eye yesterday that the meeting would be attended by residents’ representatives, the Bulawayo City Council, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and leaders of transport operators.
“(We are going) to discuss challenges in relation to the disruption in the local transport sector and the spontaneous hike in commuter omnibus fares as well as the recent worrisome conduct of commuter omnibus drivers and conductors in Bulawayo,” Ndlovu said.
The meeting comes at a time commuter omnibus operators have hiked fares from 50c to $1 within two weeks, literally ripping off the consumers because it now means they will have to fork out $60 for transport every month at a time their salaries remained static.
In some instances, consumers would be left stranded in town after the fares had been hiked without prior notice.
The taxi fare was last gazetted as 50c or R5 in 2009.
“BPRA believes that through this dialogue, residents and transport operators can find a common ground within which their interests converge and address some of the pressing challenges being faced in the transport sector, especially in the past few weeks as macro-economic conditions have impacted the transport sector,” Ndlovu said.
In hiking fares, transport operators cited fuel shortages and escalating prices of commodities. They indicated that they had hit hard times due to escalating operational costs such as brake pads, oils, tyres, among others.
But fuel prices have remained constant even though the commodity is still in short supply.