Zimbabwe News

Kombi fares now range between $600 and $1 000 for a single trip

COMMUTER omnibus operators in Bulawayo have increased fares in local currency.

The new fares range between $600 and $1 000 for a single trip, depending on the time one boards the vehicles and the distance.The fare used to be $500.

Generally, the fares are highest during the early morning rush hour, at night and on days when Zupco buses are not on the road.Commuters have said the Government should ban kombis again because it seems operators had not learnt their lesson.

“During the Covid-19 era the Government banned kombis because of among other things, wantonly increasing fares. Operators should use the official bank-rate. Why are they suddenly increasing fares when they know most of us earn RTGS and fuel prices have remained steady for the past months?” asked an irate commuter who declined to be named.

Mr Ephraim Dube from Pumula South, said what the kombi drivers are doing is outrageous because it is like all his salary is now reserved for kombi fare.

He said the most painful thing is that there are some suburbs which are still charging the normal prices.

“I am dreading the school opening week because l doubt l; will be able to afford to pay for me and my children who all learn in town. What is disheartening is that one of them boards the kombi twice so it will be really difficult for him to get kombi fare every day. If l stayed at a suburb like Mpopoma that is near town, l was surely going to walk and would not bother with these kombis,” he said.

Another commuter from Magwegwe West, Mrs Elsie Moyo, accused kombi operators of fuelling inflation.

“Once they increase the rate, moneychangers follow suit.

She said kombi operators should be put under scrutiny and punished for hiking the bond rates.

“They do this deliberately to force us to pay in foreign currency. They just hike the rates and people are left with no choice other than paying using forex,” she said.

Kombi associations Tshova Mubaiwa and Bupta said the local currency charges depend on prevailing rates of exchange.

Tshova Mubaiwa’s marketing director, Mr Ndabazabo Mabunda, said the kombi fares have not increased, it’s just the rate that has changed and it is mostly influenced by commuters.

He said commuters have a tendency of refusing local currency change claiming it will be too little so that is why the kombi operators end up charging them more so that their money can also balance.

“Commuters are the reason behind the high local rate charges for the fares because they refuse to accept change at the normal rate. Otherwise, the fares were not hiked because they are still the same,” said Mr Mabunda.

The Bupta administration director, Mr Alfred Ncube, said the association had not increased fares but operators were working with the existing rate of exchange.

Source: bulawayo24

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