BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
THE hiking of bus fares by the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (Zupco) from $16 to $30 and $24 to $50 for kombis has riled the commuting public, with transport associations and residents saying that it would make transport unaffordable for most citizens.
On Saturday, Zupco announced a 100% fare increase for urban routes.
Under the new fare structure, passengers will now pay $30 per trip for Zupco buses, up from $16, while the parastatal also raised kombi fees to $50, up from $24. Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) president Tafadzwa Goliati told NewsDay that the fares were not affordable as people’s salaries were too low to enable them to pay $50 per route.
He said workers would be severely incapacitated by the new Zupco fares.
“How can they hike fuel prices and fares while we are in the COVID-19 lockdown period? The majority of our people are suffering and yet they continue to pressure workers by placing more problems for them,” Goliati said.
“Our salaries do not match the current transport cost increment, we are now living from hand to mouth. When fuel hikes are announced the world over, it triggers price increases. The recent fare hikes are not justified, especially in view of the fact that people’s salaries have remained stagnant, below the poverty datum line.”
Consumer rights activist Effie Ncube said the price and bus fare increases would seriously affect the poor.
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“The unabated price rises will affect the poor majority in the country who have been depending on the Zupco transport monopoly to travel. Additionally, the rise in fuel prices will place inflationary pressure on the prices of all goods and services,” he said.
Ncube said this would result in further poverty in the country, as a few would afford basic commodities.
“Furthermore, very soon more workers will end up striking in view of the erosion of their meagre incomes,” he said.
Follow Patricia on Twitter @patriciasiband