23 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Stop Extorting Desperate Travellers


Yesterday thousands of Zimbabweans began travelling to various destinations for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

At Mbare Musika and other various pick-up points, many were stranded and shocked to discover buses had unilaterally hiked their fares. Passengers, going to Mutare were told to cough up US$12, double the fare they used to pay.

It was the same for other destinations like Masvingo with transporters charging US$12. For a 40km journey from Harare to Juru growth point, travellers were paying US$6.

The steep rise in fares left many families stranded. Imagine a family of five travelling from Harare to Chipinge for the holiday would require over US$200 for their journey home and back to Harare.

Those travelling to places like Victoria Falls would part with more hard- earned dollars.

But what justification do transporters have for hiking fares each time Zimbabweans are desperate to travel to their rural areas? With the price of fuel relatively stable, surely transporters are only motivated by the desire to make a killing over the festive period.

Such profiteering, which puts a dent on the festive mood for many struggling Zimbabweans, is unwarranted and should be stopped.

As many people travel, we wish to remind drivers to be mindful of the carnage that has been occurring on our roads. Already, the past few days have witnessed a marked rise in accidents that have claimed many lives. Just yesterday, Zimbabweans buried soccer legend Adam Ndlovu, who died in an accident that left his brother Peter with injuries.

Caution should be the buzzword on the roads while drinking and driving should be avoided at all costs. Drivers should also guard against driving for long hours as this could lead to fatigue, which has been blamed for a number of horrific accidents.

It is, therefore, imperative for transport operators to stop giving drivers targets in order to maximise on profit. Overworked drivers can cause accidents.

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