Deputy Minister Chasi

Government has no immediate plans to phase out kombis, an official has said.

In an interview with The Herald, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Fortune Chasi said the reintroduction of ZUPCO buses was meant to increase convenience to the commuting public.

“After seeing the way kombi operators were taking advantage of the public we were left with no option but to intervene,” he said. “Kombis just have to be competitive to survive. That is the nature of business everywhere else. What we want is for people to have as many transport options as possible.”

The management of the buses plying local routes in urban areas has since been transferred to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

Deputy Minister Chasi said the move was in accordance with the initial allocation of roles which places the management of urban transportation under Minister July Moyo’s portfolio.

“What we did as the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development was to sort of take a leading role in the re-introduction of ZUPCO into the urban mass transport system, but now that the systems are in place, it is right that the ministry mandated to run them takes over,” he said.

Deputy Minister Chasi made the remarks while touring Warren Park with transport operator Pamushana Africa, as the transporter officially launched its tap and go card technology.

The technology allows passengers to load their cash into a smart card which they use when boarding.

During the tour, Deputy Minister Chasi spoke to passengers, drivers and conductors in a bid to understand the problems they face in their commuting lives.

Before the re-introduction of ZUPCO buses in urban areas, kombis had turned predatory, pushing commuters to the wall with incessant price increases.herald