Council Turns City Hall Into Kombi Rank

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Bulawayo City Council has designated City Hall as a new commuter omnibus pick-up point for eastern suburbs with effect from today as part of the implementation of its public transport policy.

BCC Acting Town Clerk Sikhangele Zhou yesterday confirmed the development that has been applauded by the Bulawayo Public Transporters Association (BUPTA) which said pirate taxis were pushing them out of business in the eastern suburbs of the city.

“The designation of City Hall as a new pick up point is part of the implementation of our public transport policy which is meant to maintain order in the city. Other points are yet to be identified,” Zhou said.

BUPTA director Morgan Msipa said the designation of the new terminus would bring the service closer to people.

“People opted to board pirate taxis because kombis were being restricted from that area. Now people will no longer have to walk to as far as Basch Street bus terminus to board kombis. We’ve brought the services closer and we hope people will fully utilise them,” Msipa said.

BUPTA gave flyers to commuters informing them of the development and added that the existing ranks will also remain in use.

BUPTA secretary general Albert Ncube recently said pirate taxis had taken over the eastern suburbs routes and elbowed out licensed commuter omnibuses.

Illegal pick up points have remained a problem in the city and some accidents have been attributed to them.

BUPTA has also complained that pirate taxies were short-changing them and the government as they do not pay presumptive tax and do not pay towards permits issued by the local authourity.

As part of its transport policy, council had urged kombi operators to operate as companies. Council attempted to make this provision mandatory, but climbed down recently after it became clear that the directive could be a legal minefield. It had wanted all commuter operators in Bulawayo to register with only two companies.