In as much as Zimbabweans are fed up with the economy, the introduction of ZUPCO back on the road has brought much relief to many and almost 90% of those traveling to work every day using public transport have acquired the NMB Tap Cards, Techunzipped news has learned.
The Zimbabwe United Passengers Company has provided 516 conventional buses and 458 kombis, with many of them privately-owned but operating under franchise. This has made life easier for many in urban areas as the ZUPCO bus is charging $1 for locals to town and the company’s kombi charging $2 respectively whilst ordinary kombis due to the continued rise in fuel prices are charging $8 for the same root.
During the introduction of ZUPCO in January last year, a lot of people and opinionist thought it would not work. Some even rejected the busses and kombis and continue boarding the ordinary commuter omnibuses until they couldn’t take the rise of fares anymore and chose the State provided fuel transport instead. Right now there are reports that even those with private cars are now abandoning their vehicles and board the $1 bus instead. The services also carter for long distance travelling for instance, yesterday, Zupco was charging $60 for a trip from Harare to Mutare, while private operators charged $100. On the busy Harare-Bulawayo route, Zupco charges $100, private conventional buses $160 and luxury coaches $400.
ZUPCO introduced tap cards in partnership with NMB bank, a process where one can just tap the card on a machine as a way of payment for the bus fare. The card is prepaid making it easier for both the passenger and the conductor in cash handling. At first people were against the cards and refused to take them when they were offered for free because many thought the ZUPCO was a joke but when the ordinary kombi fares continued rising and ZUPCO operators were giving first priority to those with tap cards to enter the bus first many resorted to buying the cards which now cost $15 resulting to 90% of the population in possession of the tap card.