Abigail Mzimbawakhe (Midlands Correspondent)
Villagers from Dorset and Damba in Shurugwi have asked the government to introduce the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses in the remote areas of the district as they are finding it hard to travel due to unaffordable prices by commuter omnibus buses.
Exorbitant fares by kombi operators have increased by more than 200 percent, a hike far beyond affordability by people in the rural areas.
In an interview with Spiked Online Media, Benjamin Gwanyanya from Damba village said the government should introduce ZUPCO buses in remote areas so that it will be easy for people to access banks and hospitals.
“We only have one bus ‘Joma’. We can not talk about the commuter omnibuses because they are very expensive. Joma has also increased its prices after citing a spike in spare parts prices as well as the increase in fuel prices so we beg the government to introduce affordable buses in our area,” Gwanyanya said.
ZANU (PF) District Political Commissar from Dorset, Patrick Mbiva, said there are no reliable buses in the route from Gweru-Dorset so the kombi operators are taking advantage of that by increasing fares.
“Most privately owned buses which were plying the Gweru-Dorset route folded operations due to economic challenges. We are aware that the government has introduced ZUPCO buses to other areas so we beg them to save us from exorbitant fares by kombi operators,” Mbiva said.
In separate interviews, the residents of Dorset said several bus operators were shunning the area due to the poor road networks.
“We appeal to the government to come to our aid. We need reliable transport that does not shun us because of our poor roads. We are travelling long distances to access transport to go to the urban areas,” they said.
Meanwhile, villages in the Dorset Resettlement area are also facing critical water shortages, which might lead to deadly water borne diseases.
The villages are appealing to well wishes to come and rescue them as they have only ten boreholes that cannot even sustain a ward and pointed out that they need about 40 boreholes.