The festive season in Zimbabwe has always been associated with high traffic movement as most holiday makers seek to reach their various destinations to be in the company of their loved ones for the celebration of Christmas. Notwithstanding the debilitating effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy and the entire social fabric, this years’ festive mood has not been entirely blighted as witnessed by high numbers of commuters at major pick up and drop off points here in Buhera district, Manicaland Province.
Illegal transport operators are however taking advantage of the shortage of authorized public commuter vehicles in the form of ZUPCO buses as they have doubled fares much to the agony of the impoverished rural folk. For example, a short distance from Masasa to Murambinda is normally charged between US$2 and US$3, but the pirate operators plying the route better known as Mushikashika have raised fares to as much as US$5.
The government has a duty to provide adequate alternative transport especially to protect the vulnerable rural commuters who during this time of the year always find themselves at the mercy of illegal transport operators. Opportunities for private operators should be opened so that they augment the efforts of the government in the quest to provide safe and dependable public transport service.