The Sunday News
According to the World Bank “Poor people’s inability to access jobs and services is an important element of the social exclusion that defines urban poverty.”
Urban transport policy can attenuate this poverty, both by contributing to economic growth and by introducing a conscious poverty reduction to focus the infrastructure investment, to public transport service planning, and to fare-subsidy and financing strategies.
There is a rich agenda of urban transport policies that are both pro-growth and pro-poor, yet which are consistent with the fiscal capabilities of even the poorest countries.”
The assertion by the World Bank dovetails with the policy of the Government in making sure that people, in both urban and rural areas, access affordable transport. This is also in sync with the Government’s economic blueprint, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which says; “An efficient and adequate transport system is critical for the development of the country, providing access to markets including reducing regional disparities. The road, rail and air sub-sectors are critical in rapid industrialisation and agricultural advancement as they facilitate trade and movement of goods and people, hence, the need to rehabilitate and upgrade the current stock of assets.”
To ensure that people participate in the country’s economic activities and are part of efforts to turn around the economy, the Government has been working hard to capacitate Zupco to have adequate buses to service the country, at a time when private transport operators are hiking fares unjustifiably, to the detriment of the general public.
The buses under the Zupco scheme charge very little compared to private operators, and they have been a huge relief to workers. To show that Government is committed to further make life more bearable, President Mnangagwa last week commissioned 47 new Zupco buses — the second batch under the scheme.
In April, the Head of State and Government commissioned 39 buses while an additional 47 has just been cleared at the ports of entry and will be unveiled soon. A further 500 buses from Belarus are also in the pipeline.
Speaking at the commissioning of the buses in Harare, President Mnangagwa said the Government is committed to ease transport challenges in the country by availing reliable and affordable transport to the people in line with the Vision 2030.
“My Government will continue to prioritise comprehensive urban public transport systems to increase convenience, reliability and comfort to the commuting public. In order to improve the transport service as I have said today, we are releasing 47 buses and the distribution will be announced by Zupco. In addition to these 47 that are being released today, we have another 47 already paid for and are at the border. A big number are still to be shipped from China.”
President Mnangagwa said Government in its effort to provide a safe and reliable urban transport system, facilitated the introduction of an urban mass transport system through Zupco in partnership with private operators. President Mnangagwa added that the Government will source appropriate buses for people living with disabilities.
“My Government will also source appropriate buses for people with disabilities. I have been discussing with the chairman and I am told it is possible to put some facility on the existing buses to take care of our citizens with disabilities to conveniently go into the buses and come out of the buses without much difficulty,” he said.