Joseph Madzimure and Wallace Ruzvidzo
President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned 47 Zupco buses, the second batch of a 300-strong fleet, as Government continues to build a safe and reliable transport system.
In April, the Head of State and Government commissioned 39 buses, while an additional 47 have been cleared at the ports of entry and will be unveiled soon.
A further 500 buses from Belarus are on the way.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Harare yesterday, the President said the Government was committed to easing transport challenges by availing reliable and affordable transport to the people in line with Vision 2030.
“My Government will continue to prioritise comprehensive urban public transport systems to increase convenience, reliability and comfort with the commuting public.
“In order to improve the transport service as I have said today, we are releasing 47 buses and the distribution will be announced by Zupco. In addition to these 47 that are being released today, we have another 47 already paid for and are at the border. A big number are still to be shipped from China.
“As I mentioned, the last time we launched the first batch of new buses that as they come in I will have them released, so this is the second consignment of buses which have arrived.
“Some are still at the port and some are still at the border but because of the challenges being faced by our population, both urban and rural, in particular the working population, we have decided to release the buses whenever they arrive so that we ameliorate the challenges of transport system,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa added that Government, in its effort to provide a safe and reliable urban transport system, facilitated the introduction of an urban mass bus transport system by Zupco in partnership with private operators.
“My administration in its effort to provide a safe and reliable urban transport system, has facilitated the introduction of a urban mass transport system through Zupco in partnership with private operators, some of whom are here.
“As a Government, we have a vision of developing an integrated and multi-model urban transport system which shall include trains, trams and buses plying rural, intercity, cross border and intra city journeys,” he said.
He commended Zupco board chairman professor Quinton Kanhukamwe, who is also the vice chancellor of the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), and his students for introducing an efficient tracking system for buses.
“I would also want to announce and commend Harare Institute of Technology under Professor Kanhukamwe who have introduced a monitoring technology which covers the fueling, monitoring of the buses wherever they are and a passenger payment system which is tap-and-go so we should commend our students at HIT for that innovation. This new technology I am talking about has been rolled out for experiment, currently its running at 10 service stations in town. So those crooks should beware,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the Government will source appropriate buses for people living with disabilities.
“My Government will also source appropriate buses for people with disabilities. I have been discussing with the chairman and I am told it is possible to put some facility on the existing buses to take care of our citizens with disabilities to conveniently go into the buses and come out of the buses without much difficulty,” he said.
He called local authorities to develop dedicated bus lanes
“Going forward, I urge the local authorities and other responsible departments to develop dedicated bus lanes so that these buses can keep time and run on schedules,” he said.
“The concept of bus shuttles under the park and bride model should be considered as the latest strategy to decongest our cities and the planning is now well advanced to do so.”
The President has urged the public to travel safely during the Heroes’ and Defence Forces Holidays.
“I am launching this programme today as we are entering the Heroes’ and Defence Forces Holidays, it is my wish for all Zimbabweans to travel safely to their holiday destinations and we have brought these buses in time to ensure this happens,” he added.
“May I appeal to the travelling public, our citizens, is not to vandalize the buses. We have introduced the concept of cleanliness which I believe on the First Friday of August all of us in the country devote two hours to cleaning wherever we are; the environment in which we work or stay or sleep. The same attitude should be applied with care of these buses, it should not only be the drivers and perhaps the conductors but every single user of these buses should keep in mind that they are for our comfort not for destruction,” he said.
President Mnangagwa added that the Government has a vision of developing an integrated and multimodal urban transport system.