Zupco operators force passengers to sit on dirty bus floors

Zimstar News

Ill-mannered bus crews operating under the Zupco franchise are forcing desperate passengers to sit on dirty passages often in pitch dark bus interiors amid a national public transport crisis.

The demeaning acts, according to Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ), are being committed to try and conceal overloading offences from law enforcement agents.

This was revealed in a letter of complaint penned recently to the Local Government ministry permanent secretary by the passenger rights lobby.

“It is so devastating to find out that passengers rights are being grossly violated when passengers are on board,” said PAZ in its correspondence to the minister.

“We have witnessed passengers being forced to sit on dirty bus passages whenever these buses are overloaded and also if the buses are overloaded, the drivers do not turn on the lights inside the buses.”

PAZ also outlined a number of violations committed by the bus operators who have brazenly placed their pursuit of revenue at the expense of passengers.

The include flouting of Covid-19 regulations on passenger transportation.

Added PAZ, “Zupco bus crews are not enforcing what the service provider purports to be doing. Wearing of masks is not being adhered to by bus crews and the passengers.

“Temperatures are not being checked although Point Monitors were equipped with thermometers. If they happen to be checking, no recording is being done in case of suspicion and onward considerations for corrective measures.”

Because of lax monitoring by authorities, PAZ said, most early morning bus crews are not sanitising passengers upon boarding their fleets and are taking advantage of the transport crisis to overload their buses in violation of regulations.

The continued violations and disregard for passenger concerns has seen commuters turn to private motorists, pirate kombi operators and illegal small private car operators known as mushikashika.

PAZ called on authorities to stamp their foot on the ground and enforce the regulations in the interest of passengers.

Government decreed a ban on private commuter transport operators at the onset of Covid-19 lockdown last year and directed those wishing to continue operating to register under the Zupco franschise.

But the continued shortage of Zupco buses to meet the demand has given rise to the violations and the re-emergence of banned kombis on the city roads.