Transport operators associations have urged operators and their employees to charge stipulated fares that are on their fare tables and avoid overcharging commuters during this festive season. This comes in the wake of some unscrupulous operators, who were taking advantage of many people travelling to their rural homes and other areas to inflate fares.
In an interview yesterday, Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACO) secretary-general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said, “In light of the fact that transport is an important service that must not be subjected to willy nilly price hikes like we are witnessing with other commodities, GHACO continues to urge operators and crew to charge fares that are stipulated on their fare tables.
“This is in spite of the excessively high prices of spares and tyres that have been hiked by between 60 and 100 percent over the last three months. We, therefore, urge Government to look into the issue of subsidies for our important sector’s inputs like fuel and spares, which are our biggest cost contributors, but have of late been increasing in cost on a weekly basis.”
Mr Katsvairo said Government should assist spare parts wholesalers with foreign currency, as they were claiming that they were increasing prices in line with the rates of forex they were getting on the parallel market.
“There is also the risk of compromising the safety of passengers if the issue of spare parts prices is not addressed immediately, as operators will not be able break even given skewed cost of spares versus current low fares,” Mr Katsvairo said.
Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) president Mr Tafadzwa George Goliati also took a swipe on some of the operators that were taking commuters for granted by overcharging. He said all fare hikes should be approved by Government and urged the relevant authorities to ensure that the culprits were brought to book. Mr Goliati urged passengers to plan their journey and avoid travelling at night.
“As Passengers Association of Zimbabwe, we wish everyone a safe festive season. We are encouraging everyone to plan their journeys ahead. Passengers should avoid as much as possible travelling at night and should use registered passenger service vehicles that are road worthy. They should avoid boarding private vehicles as these do not have passenger insurance, thus one does not get compensation in the event of death or injury,” he said.
Mr Goliati called upon drivers, especially those of public service vehicles, to have sufficient rest before driving long distances.
“Owners of passenger service vehicles should ensure that their drivers get sufficient rest,” he said. “Drivers should get recesses after travelling for a couple of hours so as not to get affected by fatigue.
“We encourage long distance bus operators to insure their vehicles and make sure that their vehicles are road worthy. They should also have passenger manifest of which a copy should be left either with the bus owners or police, so that in case of a serious accident it will be easier to identify victims.”
Mr Goliati urged passengers to be wary of thieves at most bus terminuses, and should avoid carrying a lot of cash or overloading themselves with goods. He said they should put stickers with their names and contact details on their luggage and should carry the contact of next of kin and identity documents.
“Do not trust anyone just because you have met them on a bus,” said Mr Goliati. “Passengers should understand that they are responsible for their own lives and should not wait after an accident to state that the driver was over speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
“Order any over speeding driver to slow down or report him/her at the nearest road block. Drivers should stop at road blocks when ordered to do so. As Passengers Association of Zimbabwe we look forward to a drastic reduction in road accidents during this festive season as compared to previous years, by more than fifty percent. This is everyone’s active responsibility.”
Mr Goliati urged motorists to ensure that they have passenger insurance cover, and proper documentation so that it would be easy when they are involved in accidents.
Article Source: The Herald