Zimbabwe News

ZUPCO terminates contracts for urban buses

The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) says it will not renew contracts with private owners of buses plying urban routes beyond 28 February 2024.

The parastatal contracted private transport operators during the coronavirus lockdowns to ensure that transporters would follow lockdown rules.

The government had banned all private transporters at the time which left them with no option other than joining the ZUPCO franchise for them to be allowed to continue operating during the lockdown.

However, as the lockdown was relaxed and then dropped, a lot of buses decided to return to private control and almost all kombi operators wanted independence from ZUPCO which they argued had been short-changing them during lockdown.

In a letter dated 09 February seen by The Herald, and addressed to bus operators, ZUPCO acting chief executive Tineyi Rwasoka notified operators of the expiry of the remaining contracts. He wrote:

As you are already aware, the ZUPCO bus hiring contract for urban transportation between yourselves and ZUPCO Limited is set to expire on February 28, 2024.

We refer to our previous correspondence, specifically our letter dated January 1, 2024, regarding the same matter.

We are writing to officially inform you that we do not intend to renew the contract.

We kindly request that you provide us with any necessary information or documentation regarding the conclusion of our contractual relationship.

This includes the return of any ZUPCO Limited property or confidential information that may be in your possession.

Manicaland bus operators chairman and coordinator of buses attached to the ZUPCO franchise, Esau Mupfumi, confirmed receiving termination letters from ZUPCO. Said Mupfumi:

We are waiting for Government guidance as the termination is neither here nor there. It appears the left hand was unaware of what the right hand was doing.

The Goverment has since withdrawn financial support from ZUPCO for hiring buses saying the parastatal has been subsidised enough and must be running profitably and efficiently.

Treasury was reported to be giving ZUPCO US$6 a month to enable the company to hire private buses to provide urban mass transport.

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