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» » » ZUPCO overwhelmed by mishika-shika competition

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 …as Covid-19 third wave beckons

Clayton Shereni

MASVINGO – Monopoly public transport provider, Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (Zupco) is feeling the heat of competition due to the resurfacing of pirate taxis and kombis who are not contracted to the company.

Pirate taxis popularly known as mishika-shika are now plying all local routes although they were banned when the first lockdown was declared in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Not only pirate taxis have resurfaced but kombis too which are not under the Zupco franchise are operating and charging a $40 fare for all local routes, an amount equal to Zupco’s charge.

When the Covid-19 lockdown was loosened, movement and the demand of transport increased and Zupco has been blamed for failing to increase its fleet.

However, Zupco Masvingo manager Wiseman Ziweni rubbished the claims saying the commuting public are ditching Zupco for illegal pirate taxis.

“I cannot comment much about the issue but all I can say is that those are blue lies. We have the fleet which can cope with the demand here in Masvingo. What is actually happening is that we end up withdrawing some vehicles because mishika-shika will have flooded and commuters then ditch us for them,” said Zuweni.

The police have also been blamed for failing to ensure that only Zupco-affiliated transporters are on the road providing services.

With pressure of a looming Covid-19 third wave, the police have been involved in running battles with illegal transport operators but to little effect.

ZRP Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa told TellZim News that they are impounding cars of illegal operators.

He urged those who are operating outside the confines of the law to stop forthwith.

“We are making arrests and cars are being impounded on a daily basis. Those who are pirating should stop immediately and follow what the law dictates because we won’t hesitate to pounce on them,” said Dhewa.

Pirate operators have been giving Zupco operators at designated pickup points a hard time by offering quicker services since they often use smaller vehicles.

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