MUSHIKASHIKA: Street Fighter Taxis

  • Written by Kimberley Wellington
  • Published in Business

Article 3 of 15 on the ZIMCONOMICS Series. 

Each day in Harare, there is battle between Police and Council against unregistered commuter buses and pirate taxis, and it is now costing lives and eroding profitability as corruption is rampant therein.

In the old days people would wait in an orderly manner at various designated bus terminuses around the city for the United Buses for pick-ups, and to some extent for the 404s nearby.

It was an organized system; gone are the days.

Today we have, for example, sprinting Toyota Raums from Fourth Street to Copacabana stations with men hanging on semi closed doors.

On the same routes, police will be on the run with spikes to stop them by punching their tyres and smashing their wind screens is now the order of the day in Harare.

The reparations keep worsening and continue to pose serious threats on human life; a sad evolution in the commuting business.

Residents of cities like Harare deserve more respectful transport systems that are safe and less life threatening; Council, Police, and Bus owners must resolve this street fighting.

These vehicles in topic are operating in a black market hence their operations are shady, not reliable and mostly dangerous.

There is absolutely no tax payment to ZIMRA whilst clearly sabotaging other registered and tax paying vehicles in the same line of operation. 

ZIMRA, Councils, Police, through legislature, must put in place measures to ensure equality and remittance of revenue to all stakeholders.

Numerous accidents have been attributed to drivers of these unregistered vehicles as they did not have any appropriate documentation required for driving thus not accurately familiar with road regulations leading to numerous road accidents.

Nowadays it’s difficult to plan while commuting because there are always route diversions, running from police road blocks by these commuter buses operating unauthorized; not to mention the unbearable traffic jams which they contribute, this seriously affects the business of roadworthy and qualified vehicles.

In Zimbabwe we are now at time when many, employed or not, owns a car or is going to own a car soon or later; if the GDP was calculated using car ownership Zimbabwe would actually be one of the richest countries in Africa.

When properly administered, the Commuter Transport industry has the potential of contributing significantly to Council budgets, that revenue going to the development of infrastructure in cities.

The increase in vehicle population came after the reduction in car import charges making them cheap as well for them to reach the ultimate buyer.

This move has had various effects in Zimbabwe’s economy, amongst them being that they have ruined the state of roads, increased air pollution, slowed the NRZ operations in Harare leading to serious retrenchments, cause terrible traffic congestions and is the main cause of the problem in topic, notwithstanding poor traffic administration.

There is need for government to regulate its vehicle importation laws and minimize the car imports into the country, this being a way of tackling the problem from source.

There is also need for full implementation of road and traffic laws and order by Police in conjunction with the City Council to stop this traffic barbarism ensuring public safety.

This is also achievable if the officers STOP taking bribes from these vehicles owners.

The government proposal for absolute removal of the commuter omnibus system to combat this problem will have serious after effects to the economy as thousands will lose their source of income and with unemployment levels high as 95% in 2009 this will not be a smart move.

Rather, stakeholders must work to eliminate those operating illegally and return sanity in our roads; Zimbabwean cities deserve order and bliss as commuters commute from place to place.