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Rural commuters stranded as fuel shortage bites

Long distance commuters were Friday left stranded at the Renkini long distance Terminus as most buses were grounded due to the ongoing fuel crisis

Long distance commuters were Friday left stranded at the Renkini long distance Terminus as most buses were grounded due to the ongoing fuel crisis.

CITE learnt that most passengers were forced to sleep at the bus terminus  as the buses failed to turn up yesterday.

One commuter, who identified himself as Ndlovu, who was intending to travel to his rural home in Gwanda said  he had been waiting for the bus since morning and his fresh groceries were running bad because of the delay.

“I was here since morning but our bus has not yet come, the owners told us the buses are queuing for fuel,” he said.

Commuters complained the delay was negatively affecting them as they had to walk long distances from the bus stop to their homes.

“I stay 7 km from the bus stop and with this delay, we will be in Mberengwa in the evening. How will l travel in the middle of the night with all this luggage,” said some lady.

Bus owners said they were now incurring losses as they spend most of the time queuing for fuel.

“These days we work for two days in a week instead of six due to the shortage of diesel. Sometimes we end up buying expensive fuel on the black market, which is a loss to us because we have not increased our fares,” said one operator who plies the Nkayi route.

Some fuel stations in the City Centre limit buses to fuel worth a maximum of $30, which the operators said was affecting their business.

“We need full tanks for us to work properly. $30 is just too little, it won’t take us anywhere,” said a Melusi, a Nkayi Kombi driver.

Local kombi drivers are also affected by the same crisis. They revealed that their daily routes have been reduced as they spend most of the time queuing.

They said the solution to this was to increase fares so that they catch up with the time lost.

“In the morning we charged $1 from Cowdray Park but in the evening we will charge $2 to compensate for business lost,” said Mxolisi Nyandeni, a kombi driver.

They said the crisis is also affecting their salaries as they are paid on commission.

Due to the crisis, police have been manning some service stations to control crowds.

There was chaos at Glow Petroleum station along Khami Road and police were deployed to control the disgruntled drivers who were fighting to get fuel first.

 

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