Pirate taxis force kombi fare drop

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wal­ter Mswazie Masvingo Cor­re­spon­dent

KOMBI oper­a­tors in Masvingo have been forced to re­duce fares from 50 cents to 30 cents due to stiff com­pe­ti­tion from pirate taxis.

A sur­vey by The Chronicle yes­ter­day re­vealed that com­muter om­nibus ply­ing the City-Siski, Aphiri and Run­yararo West, Mucheke, Ma­jange and Ru­jeko Sub­urbs routes have all re­duced their fares.

Pirate taxis which pas­sen­gers were now pre­fer­ring have re­mained at 50 cents per trip.

Most oper­a­tors es­pe­cially those ply­ing Ru­jeko suburb route have been forced out of busi­ness and only a hand­ful of vehicles are op­er­at­ing.

Masvingo Ur­ban Com­muter Om­nibus As­so­ci­a­tion (MUCA) co­or­di­na­tor Mr John Mawere said pirate taxis have forced them to re­duce fares and are now dic­tat­ing the pace in the in­dus­try.

“The sit­u­a­tion has forced us to re­duce fares oth­er­wise we would be forced out of busi­ness. We have re­duced fares from 50 cents to 30 cents to al­most all sub­urbs de­spite dis­tances in­volved so as to get our cus­tomers back. The un­reg­is­tered taxis are de­priv­ing us of cus­tomers as they pick com­muters from un­des­ig­nated points with the pow­ers-that-be do­ing vir­tu­ally noth­ing,” said Mr Mawere.

He said there are many oper­a­tors who have been forced out of busi­ness given the ob­tain­ing sce­nario where un­reg­is­tered taxis op­er­ate freely.

“The pain­ful thing is that we are de­prived of busi­ness by un­reg­is­tered oper­a­tors yet we pay taxes to the Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity and to coun­cil,” he said.

A pirate taxi driver, who iden­ti­fied him­self only as Diva said they want to reg­is­ter their busi­nesses so that they op­er­ate legally but the process is ex­pen­sive.

He said for a car to be a reg­is­tered taxi, the owner has to part with at least $200 yet oth­ers will be op­er­at­ing with­out reg­is­tra­tion.

Masvingo po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Char­ity Mazula warned un­reg­is­tered taxi oper­a­tors against vi­o­lat­ing the law.

“All un­reg­is­tered taxis are not al­lowed to op­er­ate as public trans­port and any­one found pi­rat­ing would be ar­rested. Po­lice will not hes­i­tate to ap­ply the law. We also carry out op­er­a­tions on our roads from time to time to get rid of th­ese pirate vehicles,” said Insp Mazula.

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