Pirate taxis force kombi fare drop
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.