Bus operators and motorists are fully behind the Cabinet decision to ease congestion by upgrading roads and introducing bus lanes.
Complementing Government efforts to bring efficient and reliable public transport to its citizens, bus operators through the Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Organisation (ZPTO) have mobilised funds which will see 250 buses being acquired and would be operating under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) franchise.
ZPTO spokesperson Mr Kura Sibanda said the plan to de-congest urban roads is a step in the right direction which should also be supported by an efficient public transport system
“We are happy as an association to augment and support Government plan to de-congest urban roads so that citizens are able to move freely and be on time, whether they are going to work or shopping.
“The biggest problem is that the volume of private vehicles getting in the city centre and coming out is congesting roads. The only solution is to put a reliable, efficient and robust mass public transport system that works on timetables and this is only sustainable if it is done centrally. It must be managed by ZUPCO.
“As an organisation and working with our various partners we managed to mobilise funds for up to 250 buses meant for urban areas and operating under the ZUPCO franchise.”
Mr Tinashe Mundawedu, a Harare motorist hailed the Government for prioritising citizens’ concerns
“These improvements are long overdue. They were supposed to be done a long time ago because the volume of traffic has increased such that our roads are always congested.
“I want to commend our Government for the decision. I am also hopeful that the recommendations will be implemented as soon as possible.”
Another motorist said it is now a nightmare driving in Harare.
“I drive to work almost everyday and for me to make it by 8am at the office, I have to be on the road from Chitungwiza by 6am.
“It is now a nightmare driving in Harare especially in town at any given time. I think there is need for an urgent expansion of our roads to ease this congestion.
“Also the move to ban mushikashika is commendable. Some of those drivers are uncaring. There should be sanity in our roads.”
Prince Mamombe, a Harare resident said the move to have dedicated lanes for buses is a step in the right direction.
“We welcome that move. Most of us use buses to and from work everyday.
“Due to congestion, we end up reporting late for duty. Dedicated lanes for buses is a right decision. Government should also ensure that there are many buses available because we are spending hours waiting to be ferried home or work.
Recently an inter-ministerial committee recommended a raft of rapid transport improvements, particularly in Harare Metropolitan.
The recommendations were approved by Cabinet as Government moves to upgrade public transport and ensure better traffic conditions.
The initial improvements will focus on upgrading both Zupco operations and expanding the fleet under its control, providing dedicated bus lanes and renovating terminuses.
They will also centre on eliminating the pirate kombis and mushikashika, repairing urgently critical non-functioning traffic lights, improving traffic control at congested junctions, repairing road surfaces at junctions and putting in kerbs to prevent U-turns.