Scores of commuters were left stranded yesterday as kombis hiked their fares in response to the latest fuel crisis. A lot of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses which the government introduced early this year to solve the transport crisis were also missing in action and not servicing the routes they are supposed to service.
People who live in areas, such as Glen Norah, that normally have a fare of $1 were being charged $2. Fares to and from Chitungwiza now range around $3.50 up from the usual $2.
Kombi drivers said they could not get fuel from service stations. They had to resort to the black market which charges prices way above the official pump prices. Most service stations had long queues as motorists patiently waited to receive fuel. In response, a lot of commuters have resorted to simply waiting to go home late when kombis reduce their fares.
Energy minister Joram Gumbo denied there was a problem on the government’s side. He instead blamed this latest shortage on lack of foreign currency resulting in service stations being unable to buy fuel.
Let me make it clear, my job is to facilitate the importation of fuel into the country. As far as I am concerned, there is enough fuel supplies in to the country, but there are shortages of the foreign currency for service stations to buy it.