Commuter operators’ organisations have come together to form the Zimbabwe Transport Operators Council (ZITOCO), an umbrella body aimed at tackling transportation problems.
The new organisation is comprised of the following commuter operator organisations: the Urban Commuter Operators of Zimbabwe (UCOZ), Chitungwiza Commuter Operators Union (CCOU), Commuter Transport Development Network of Zimbabwe (CODENET), Urban Transporters Association of Zimbabwe (UTAZ), and Shuttle Services.
Secretary General of ZITOCO Tapiwa Mashingaidze explained that among its many targets, the organisation seeks to address the problem of unlicensed operators by obtaining and keeping up to date statistics on all transporters as well as the routes they service.
“We are going to get operators’ information from the various organisations for monitoring and evaluation purposes. We aim to achieve systematic, safe and secure movement of commuters. We also wish for a coordinated system between operators and their workers,” says Mashingaidze.
Mashingaidze also said that the new body will encourage its affiliate organisations to put identifying stickers on their vehicles so that commuters can easily recognise certified transporters.
“There have been issues of poor engagement between authorities and transporters. Our organisation will be a bridge between operators and authorities so that there is proper engagement,” added Mashingaidze.
Workers in the transport sector have long been neglected due to lack of representation. However, Mashingaidze said that this will soon be history as ZITOCO will prioritise the welfare issues of employees in the transport sector.
“Besides focusing on policy issues, we will be introducing affordable funeral cover, medical aid, and housing development schemes for our membership so that they are taken care of,” reinforced Mashingaidze.
Mashingaidze also revealed that the organisation will work on creating provincial bodies in the country’s various provinces for easy coordination of the transport sector.
“Transport is the backbone of the economy so it is vital that we come up with a coordinated approach to transportation. To achieve all this, our organisation will also work with government departments, local authorities, and other transport bodies such as Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe,” concluded Mashingaidze.
Harare has been faced with various transportation problems which mainly stem from pirate taxis or mushikashika. It is hoped that the coming together of these transport sector organisations will begin to address these challenges.