Local Government and Public Works has announced that passengers who are picked up or dropped off at undesignated stations in and around central business districts of towns and cities, will now be liable to US$30 fines.
Local Government and Public Works’ communications and advocacy director Mr Gabriel Masvora said offending vehicles will be clamped and towed away. Masvora said:
There are by-laws that prohibit the picking up and dropping off of passengers at undesignated points.
So, the passengers will be arrested by the police, while council will have the right to clamp the vehicle and tow it away.
This is also applying to private motorists who drop off passengers at undesignated places.
Police will determine the fines that the passengers will have to pay.
According to Statutory Instrument 41 of 2016 of the Road Traffic (Traffic Signs and Signals) Regulations, local authorities should ensure that signs are erected to prohibit pedestrians from being picked up and dropped off at undesignated points. The SI reads in part:
This prohibition on hitch-hiking is effective for a distance of 500 metres beyond such a sign.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende said the local authority is recruiting more manpower to help enforce traffic by-laws in the capital. He told The Sunday News:
We have expanded our recruitment for the exercise and we have teamed up with City Parking to enforce traffic by-laws in the city. All this is meant to ensure sanity is restored in the city.
This regulation has been in place since 2016.
Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said the standard scale of fines gazetted recently in Statutory Instrument 14A of 2023 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) will be enforced on hitchhikers.
The fines in the schedule are expressed in United States dollars but payable in the equivalent Zimbabwe dollars at the prevailing interbank rate.
Many passengers have over the years argued that they are being picked up or dropped off at undesignated stations because the official termini are not located strategically.