A TRANSPORT shortage is causing frustration for many residents in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb after most commuter operators withdrew from the roads following a police clampdown on unroadworthy and unregistered vehicles.
Residents said they had been getting to work late and some of them were given several warnings by their bosses as a result of the lack of transport.
A resident, Makhosi Dube, said the transport situation was worsening in the suburb and their daily travels were being badly
“If I want to be in town by 8am, I am supposed to be on the road at around 6am, otherwise I would be stranded,” said Dube.
Another resident said he would have long opted to use the train if it was safe, but recent accidents on the rail network meant he had to continue using the unreliable kombis.
“This derailing of trains in Zimbabwe has made me avoid using the train as a mode of transport despite it being cheap. We urge kombi owners to fix their permits as well as to pay council tickets so that they could operate without any problems,” said Munyaradzi Hwangwa.
Duduziwe Nkomazana said she was always late for work because she had to jostle with men for the few kombis available.
“Some of us are now known for getting to work late. It’s impossible to push and shove against men to get into a kombi, so I just stand aside until there is no more pressure,” Nkomazana said.
Taxi operator Mthokozisi Dlamini said they could not operate in the morning because traffic police would be on the road. They would be avoiding to pay bribes that the cops demand even when there is nothing wrong with their kombis.
“I cannot bribe police officers at four roadblocks in one trip. If I do that, what profit would I have made? Police have ignored real crimes to mount unnecessary roadblocks on every corner demanding money from kombi drivers and that’s why we only operate after they have left,” Dlamini said.
Residents formed the Cowdray Park Taxis Association in March following an outcry that they were being ill-treated and fleeced by public transporters.
They were each asked to contribute $60 towards the project to buy kombis that would ply their suburb.
The company unveiled two kombis in June, but the project was mired in controversy after contributors complained that Cowdray Park councillor Collet Ndlovu registered the vehicles in his children’s names instead of the association.