Tanyaradzwa Mamombe, H-Metro Reporter
. . . Mushika-shika killing us
. . . different rates when it rains
. . . overloading to make profits
LEGITIMATE commuter omnibus operators said their business is crumbling due to illegal and unlicensed vehicles operating at undesignated places charging half prices.
H-Metro conducted a survey at Charge Office terminus where commuters from Chitungwiza are charged ZWL$10 in the afternoon and ZWL$15 during peak hour.
During the respective times, Mushika-shika charges half the price whilst Zupco buses have a fixed charge of ZWL$2.
One of Chitungwiza commuter omnibus drivers who preferred anonymity told H-Metro that legal operators are now suffering due to the stiff competition from Mushika-shika.
“We suffer because in the rank our prices are supposed to be constant whereas the Mushika-shika can shift their prices to steal our customers.
“As legal combi operators we pay rank discs of $335 per three months that is why we have different transport fares.”
Combis revealed that they are reliant on the black market for fuel which is a lot more expensive hence the high transportation prices.
“Our fares vary depending on the hours where they will be a higher demand.
“Kana iri peak hour makombi tinenge tichitodhura nekuti munhu wese anenge achida kuenda kumba.
“Isu vemakombi tinotaurawo mari inozoita kuti tikwanisewo kutenga fuel.
“Our normal fixed fare is $15 but when it’s raining the prices goes up,” he said.
Another driver identified as Manager said the illegal operators do not have any valid documents and the vehicles will not be roadworthy.
“Kuno kuma kombi takungouyawo kuti tiwane mari yechikafu.
“We have challenges with illegal operators who do not even have licences or rank disks.
“Zupco have worsened our challenges whereby most commuters are opting for the cheap transport although it is a hustle to get in the Zupco,” he said.
However a bus driver who operates along Chitungwiza route said they start operating in St Marys daily at 6am.
“Kombi operators are being disadvantaged because they have to buy diesel which is expensive.
“Vasiyana nesu veZupco we get free Fuel kudepot nyangwe bus richiita $2 tinongoita profit.
“For Kombi operators to get profit, they have to overload which is also not allowed, but if they do not overload they will not get profit,” he said.