Harare, December 24, 2013-Long-distance buses and commuter transport operators in Harare are charging exorbitant fares, taking advantage of desperate travellers ahead of Christmas Day festivities.
At Mbare Msika long-distance bus terminus, bus operators confirmed they had increased fares saying business was brisk.
Bus fares for the Harare-Bulawayo route had gone up from the usual $15 to $20. Commuters transport operators plying the route were also charging $20.
Itai Mzingwane, a bus driver with Guriro Investment, said they wanted to take advantage of the increased number of travellers.
“Although we increased fares for the Harare-to-Bulawayo route by $5, our buses are full at the time,” he said.
A bus conductor Shepherd Banda attributed the increases in fares to the volume of travellers.
Fares for rural routes were also increased, much to the chagrin of travellers.
Fares for Mariga, Murombedzi in Zvimba went up from the usual $4 to $6.
Commuter omnibuses from Harare to Murombedzi (Zvimba) were also charging $10, up from the usual $5.
Travellers said they had no option, but to pay the new fares as they were keen to spend the festive season with their families.
“It is very painful that transport operators have to increase bus fares to take advantage of travellers desperate to join their families during the festive period.
“We cannot afford to pay the amounts bus operators are charging, but we have no option since there are no other means of transport,” Sipiwe Moto, one of the travellers, said.
Commuter omnibus operators have also increased their fares from 50 cents to $1 for local routes.