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Gweru commuters stranded as ZUPCO drivers strike.

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ZUPCO drivers go on strike in Gweru.

Hundreds of commuters in Gweru were left stranded on Tuesday evening after ZUPCO bus operators pulled their vehicles off the roads over outstanding payments from the government.

The transporters have gone for more than a month without being paid for their services, according to some operators who declined to be named.

“For over a month the government has not paid us for our services and we can`t continue transporting people without getting anything out of it,” one operator said.

Another operator said: “We have families to feed and have to repair our vehicles from time to time as you can see how bad the roads are now. We want our money so that we meet all these expenses.”

Some transporters were allegedly protesting the police operation to impound non-compliant vehicles.

The police on Saturday launched an operation targeting motorists driving vehicles that are unregistered, unlicensed and do not have registration plates.

When 98.4FM News visited some pick-up points in the city, hordes of commuters could be seen milling around waiting to find transport, while some were jostling for private cars that were cashing in on the transport shortages.

The commuters said they had been waiting for hours to find transport home.

“I have been here since 1 (p.m.) and my feet are now sore from standing waiting for transport. As things stand, we do not even have hope of finding transport to an extent that I am even considering walking all the way to Mkoba from this point,” said one commuter.

Another commuter said she had been waiting to get transport for a long time and was unsure of how she would get home.

“This is chaotic, as you can see the situation here. The illegal and private vehicles have raised fares taking advantage of the transport shortages, some are charging (ZWL) $150 per trip,” said a commuter who indicated that he was going to Mkoba 13 resident.

By around 6 p.m. most pick-up points were swelling with commuters, with some panicking over how they would get home.

Efforts to get a comment from ZUPCO Chief Executive Officer Everisto Madangwa were not fruitful as his mobile phone could not be reached.

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