Zimbabwe commuter transport operators raise fares following fuel price increases

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A Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldier stands guards as passengers leave a bus of the public transport company Zupco at the Market Square bus station in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on January 24, 2019. - Under pressure following international criticism of its brutal put-down of the protests, the government has scrambled to revive its public transport company Zupco after years of mismanagement and corruption. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldier (L) stands guards as passengers wait for a bus of the public transport company Zupco at the Market Square bus station in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on January 24, 2019. – Under pressure following international criticism of its brutal put-down of the protests, the government has scrambled to revive its public transport company Zupco after years of mismanagement and corruption. (Photo credit JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Commuter transport fares rose by an average 50 Zimbabwe cents on Monday night in tandem with fuel price increases effected by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) earlier during the day.

The price of diesel rose to 7.19 Zimbabwe dollars per liter, up from 5.84 Zimbabwe dollars per liter, while that of petrol rose from 6.10 dollars per liter to 7.47 per liter. Operators did not increase fares the last time fuel prices went up on July 12.

Commuter Abednego Kamhoti, who resides in Domboshawa, about 30 km from Harare, said fares had been raised from 3.50 dollars to between 4 dollars and 5 dollars, depending on the time of day.

“Kombi drivers are now charging 4 dollars during off-peak hours and take advantage of the limited availability of transport during peak hours when they charge 5 dollars per fare,” he said.

The fare from Warren Park into the city center, which used to be 2 dollars, is now 2.50 dollars.

ZERA has been periodically hiking fuel prices to keep them in the region of the prevailing foreign currency exchange rate.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said recently that fuel and electricity tariffs would be reviewed because the current pricing model was no longer sustainable.

Fuel prices have gone up several times in 2019, starting with a 150 percent increase in January which saw the price of petrol go up from 1.64 dollars per liter to 3.39 dollars when the local currency was still pegged at par with the U.S. dollar.

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