By Justin Mahlahla
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa this Thursday afternoon commissioned a batch of 115 ZUPCO buses, as part of government’s efforts to provide the travelling public with efficient, safe, reliable and affordable transport in both urban and rural areas.
The provision of reliable transport is espoused in the National Development Strategy One.
“Indeed, this event marks the 8th commissioning ceremony of buses, following the launch of this programme on 21 January 2019. The 115 buses, which I am commissioning today, will undoubtedly improve the availability of public passenger transport services,” said President Mnangagwa.
“As we continue to re-build the ZUPCO fleet, we expect bus services to reach each and every corner of the country, with no one and no place being left behind. ZUPCO should, therefore, operate at the highest level of efficiency in line with our vision of a modern, highly integrated multi-modal transport system, which can play a key role in the development of our economic and social sectors,” he added.
The President noted that because the country has now transitioned from stabilisation to growth, the workforce should not spend valuable productive time waiting for transport.
Under this system, ZUPCO’s partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe to alleviate public transport challenges is now bearing fruit, he added.
“This is being complemented by measures such as the construction of filters at traffic circles to alleviate traffic congestion in major cities.”
President Mnangagwa said in line with Government’s intention to partially privatise ZUPCO, as highlighted in the 2022 National Budget, some investors, including some Zimbabweans, have entered into arrangements with local bus assembly companies.
“This will create jobs as well as lower the cost of bus procurement in foreign currency, as many of the parts can be sourced locally.”
He challenged local entrepreneurs to be bolder and embark in the manufacturing of components, taking advantage of the enabling environment created under the Second Republic.
The President applauded the private sector transport operators for the services that they are providing both in urban and rural areas and invited more players to come forward and complement Government efforts in the provision of reliable and efficient transportation services.
“Finally, I urge ZUPCO to implement contemporary fleet management practices, including time tabling and ensuring that their buses service areas where they are needed most, so that the commuting public do not spend unnecessary time waiting in queues.
“I also task the ZUPCO Management Committee to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to mitigate the plague of accidents such as retraining of staff, as well as properly service and maintain their fleet of buses. ZUPCO must be a beacon of service excellence.”
President Mnangagwa also urged ZUPCO as well as other public transport operators, to take all the necessary health precautions against COVID-19 and encouraged those who have not been vaccinated to do so.