The government has okayed the return of privately-owned commuter omnibuses (kombis) under new regulations being crafted to guide the liberalisation of the urban mass public transport system.
The Sunday Mail reports that kombis will only operate under accredited associations and follow strict guidelines.
Cabinet has already approved the amendment of the Urban Areas (Omnibus Services) Regulations, which will be gazetted soon.
Local Government and Public Works Permanent Secretary Mr Zvinechimwe Churu said kombis that were not affiliated to ZUPCO could only start operating after the regulations were gazetted. Churu said:
Government has initiated procedures to institute the relevant subsidiary legislation and supportive operational measures to regulate the opening up of the urban transport sector to private operators.
Principles for the Urban Areas (Omnibus Services) Regulations 2022 were approved by Cabinet and following the preparation of a draft Statutory Instrument, the relevant checks are being finalised before the Statutory Instrument is gazetted.
Private operators who are not registered with ZUPCO are expected to comply with requirements of the relevant authorities and will be mandated to operate under the new regulations to be gazetted.
Churu said some of the requirements were:
a). an operator’s licence,
b). certificate of fitness,
c). route authority,
d). rank disk,
e). passenger and vehicle insurance,
f). any other documents or permits relevant to the sector.
Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 banned private-owned kombis from roads only allowing those managed by ZUPCO.
However, earlier this month, President Mnangagwa announced the Government’s plan to lift the suspension on private operators in response to the transport crisis in the country.
Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibus Operators secretary-general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said self-regulation in the urban transport sector was welcome.
Bulawayo already has three associations, including BUPTA and Tshova Mubaiwa.
This reporter observed elongated queues at bus termini in Harare CBD Saturday evening suggesting that the transport crisis is far from over.