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LONG distance bus operators were forced to cut their fares as most people in Harare decided to stay at home due to economic hardships being faced by the generality of Zimbabweans.

The situation was made worse by the government which did not pay the civil servants their salaries on time with bonuses set to be received end of January.

A survey conducted by NewZmbabwe.com a day before and on the Christmas day showed that most bus ranks were empty with busses parked while few were struggling to fill up.

At Mbare-Musika, a conductor whose bus plies the Harare-Mutare route said initially they had set their prices so high but were forced to reduce as there were few or virtually no passengers at all.

“We started charging $20 in anticipation of a busy festive season from travellers, but it’s even worse than on some other ordinary days.”

“For these conventional busses to fill up pane basa baba (it’s tough),” said John Muzamo.

At Harare show grounds pick up point some luxury busses plying the Harare- Bulawayo route charging between $30 and $40 had been forced to go down to $15 in order to lure passengers.

Harare-Murombedzi kombis which had gone up to $10 from $5 have also reduced their prices to $4 or slightly above.

Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com a manager with one Luxury coach company said they reduced their fairs due to competition.

“People are travelling but we reduced our prices in order to lure more passengers,” he said.

Asked how many passengers had booked in aance the manager said “very few” because most of the people got their salaries on the 24th of December.

Source : New Zimbabwe