BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) is reportedly not paying route approval fees to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), prejudicing the local authority of about $16 000 in potential revenue annually.
In a bid to ease transport challenges in the country, government this year re-introduced Zupco buses on both urban and rural routes.
According to the latest council minutes, Zupco does not pay route approval fees to council as per the law, depriving the city of the much-needed revenue.
“In the City of Bulawayo there are four companies that provide public passenger transport and below are the statistics related to these companies: Tshova Mubaiwa Co-op (320), Bulawayo City Transit (420), Bupta (600), Zupco (80) and taxis. Please note that Zupco buses and buses contracted by Zupco do not pay route approval fees, as a result council is losing approximately $16 000 revenue a year from these buses,” the minutes read in part.
So far, Zupco has roped in 86 commuter omnibuses under its comprehensive urban public transport system in Bulawayo against a target of 223, according to Zupco southern region general manager Tineyi Ruwasoka.
Contacted for comment on the failure by Zupco to pay route approval fees, Ruwasoka said: “They never engaged us on that. Can you please phone the CEO.”
Zupco acting chief executive officer, Everisto Madangwa, however, asked to be called after an hour, but he did not pick calls thereafter.
Meanwhile, BCC said there was a still a real challenge with public transporters who were not adhering to the designated pick-up and drop-off points.
There is also inadequate shelter and toilets for commuters, resulting in unfettered fouling.
As a solution to this, council has leased private toilets for commuters.
“Council has appealed to donors for shelter in the form of bus stop shelters and also appealed to outdoor advertisers to put up bus stop shelters, for example, Datlabs has provided shelter for commuters,” the minutes read.
The local authority also decried “umshikashika menace” in the city operating anywhere and everywhere as well as kombis and taxis operating without proper documentation.
“Since this is mainly an enforcement issue, council has engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police in order to eradicate that menace. Council has taken the enforcement stance especially the involvement of Zimbabwe Republic Police since there is a criminal element particularly, those operating without licence plates.”