Zupco is buying 667 buses from China by year end, with delivery of the first batch of 100 buses expected soon.
Further, through its intercity digital payment platform in partnership with Vaya, every intercity passenger will be covered with insurance amounting to $50 000 in the event of an accident on the road resulting in hospitalisation, disability or death.
The digital platform allows passengers to buy a ticket and book a seat for intercity via the online “VAYA ne ZUPCO” App or the Web portal.
President Mnangagwa has since recently indicated that every route should have a Zupco presence.
“We want an equitable distribution of these buses in all the country’s provinces and districts. To this end, we have engaged our suppliers to ensure the delivery of buses that are suitable for the rough terrains in rural areas,” he said recently while commissioning 40 buses in Chinhoyi.
Speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the launch the of Vaya ne ZUPCO platform, Zupco acting chief executive Mr Evaristo Madangwa said the delivery of the buses will go a long way in alleviating transport woes in the country.
“At the moment to assist transport woes we have roped in private players while we are waiting for our buses to arrive that we have acquired. We are engaging our partners, among them private operators to come in and help us out.
“We are expecting about 100 buses in the near future and eventually about 667 buses by year end from China,” he said.
Mr Madangwa also hailed the Government for moving in to deal with congestion in urban areas which he said was also hitting hard on Zupco’s operations.
“We have seen that the reason why it seems as if there are transport shortages is also the issue of congestion. There are strategies that have been put in place to make sure that the congestion is removed so that we improve the flow of traffic to and from the centres. That is a very welcome move,” he said.
During peak hours a bus plying the route from Chitungwiza to Harare and back can take two to three hours owing to congestion, but the same route usually takes less than half the time on any other time.
Mr Madangwa also encouraged the public to embrace use of tap cards, although this will also mean that more buses under his operational control are willing to accept the cards.
“You know in this era of Covid-19 we are promoting cashless transactions so we have intensified the machines in our buses that are handling transactions for tap cards so that we ease the process of handling cash and also try and assist in making sure that we are Covid-19 compliant.
“So we have got a solution for tap cards and we encourage all members of the travelling public to embrace the tap card which is a digital way of paying,” he said.
Mr Madangwa said at all major cities or boarding points kiosks at terminuses sell tap cards and offer the recharge service.
While passengers are normally happy with tap cards, since they can be recharged with swipe cards or mobile money, while cash is harder to get instantly, many buses under the Zupco franchise do not have the tap card readers that are required.
Another reason why many passengers want buses to use tap cards is the popular $45 fare, which normally means payment of $50 since there are hardly any $5 notes now in circulation.
Speaking at the same occasion to launch the VAYA ne ZUPCO platform yesterday, Harare Institute of Technology Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Engineer Talon Garikai, said the partnership and online booking platform is aligned to global trends of public and private sector partnerships, and the use of technology in public transport to transform people’s lives.
“I hope that this innovation and partnership, which will initially support passengers travelling between Harare and Bulawayo, will quickly be rolled out throughout other cities and across the country, so that our people can benefit from this smart partnership,” he said.herald