GOVERNMENT is backing the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company’s immediate purchase of 18 buses, with another 100 following soon after.
The procurement of the buses marks a major development in operationalisation of an urban mass transport system that will not only bring sanity to the streets, but will also improve commerce by providing an efficient means of moving people.
Zupco CEO Mr Clifford Muwoni said the first batch of buses were destined for Harare, Chitungwiza and Bulawayo.
Another 100 buses are expected to be delivered before the end of the year, and these will have varying capacities of 110, 70 and 40 passengers.
Mr Muwoni said the first 18 buses would charge US25c per trip.
“We have received 18 buses which were under Zimra embargo due to import duty charges. The Minister of Local Government (Saviour Kasukuwere) assisted us to access the buses.
“We have already allocated the routes of which six buses will operate on: the Glen View–Budirio route while the Chitungwiza route will also have six buses. The buses were supposed to be on the road this week but we are still waiting for a tax clearance certificate. We are working on that.
“Our focus is to restore sanity in the urban transport system because kombis and touts are wreaking havoc.
“The implementation of the buses project is ongoing. Earlier this year, we met Chinese and Brazilian bus manufacturers. For now, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with a Brazilian company for 100 buses valued at US$10 million.”
Mr Muwoni said Zupco was taking delivery of buses but the long-term plan was to import components which will be assembled locally.
“In terms of the ticketing system, we are looking at the point-of-sale, the old Almex machine, as well as the magnetic ticketing which is used in developed countries,” he said.
Zupco was the foremost public transport operator in the 1990s and Government has been working on reviving the utility.
An estimated one million commuters use urban public transport countrywide daily.
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