Mutare — A residents' group has demanded that Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses be compelled to pay terminus fees like what private operators used to do before their ban by authorities.
Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA) programmes coordinator, David Mutambirwa said the ranks used to be cash cows for the local authority, adding that the public transport operator should remit revenue to council for maintenance of the infrastructure in the city.
"Council has got the capacity to increase their revenue base; it is just that it fails to find out when certain things are going wrong.
"Deputy Mayor can you tell us if Zupco is now paying for rank disks like what private operators used to do.
"Terminuses used to be cash cows and council would benefit a remarkable amount of revenue from such terminus fees," Mutambirwa said.
In his response, city deputy mayor Farai Bhiza said council was in fact in ongoing but unyielding engagements with Zupco over the matter.
"The local bus termini used to be a cash cow for Mutare City Council as private commuter operators who ply different routes paid annual licence fees to council.
"The funds would then be channelled towards roads and infrastructure," said Bhiza during a Tell Zim News community engagement meeting.
Bhiza said the local authority was up in arms with the public transporter for non-compliance on remittance of terminus fees to council when they took over the public transport sector.
"The matter went through public works and finance departments. We were told that when private operators were integrated into Zupco, they started refusing to pay for ranks saying they were now under Zupco franchise.
"They drastically change their stance saying they were given a directive not to pay for the terminus," said Bhiza.
He said that city fathers have since written to Zupco to ascertain who instructed private operators the green light to stop paying rank fees.
"Up to now they have not responded to our letter. However, we are piling pressure to ensure that all buses under Zupco franchise are remitting their rank fees to the local authority," said Bhiza.