By Panashe David Babi
Commuters in Gweru have expressed their joy following the re-opening of Kudzanai terminus after months long of maintenance closure since the first lockdown in April 2020, while intercity travel and non-essential services in the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were prohibited.
Following covid-19 imposed closure, Gweru local authority joined other councils across the country to embarked on a developmental blitz that saw the demolition of most structures including old markets, toilets, parking bays for buses among other structures giving way for construction.
Gweru local council renovated Kudzanai terminus that had reached a point of dilapidation, it’s gates opened in August everything seems to be working properly including toilets and bathroom showers though now require ZW$50 and ZW$100 respectively to use, a move that has been ecstatically welcomed by commuters as they believe that this will give the local authorities funds to properly maintain and clean the public facilities.
NTU News Zimbabwe spoke to some residents who applauded the order and security in the new terminus which now seems to be the norm as market stalks are now clearly allocated allowing de-congestion which is highly recommended as a covid-19 precaution.
“Buses are always safer and more efficient than hiking, a bus terminus is an ideal structure for loading and unloading goods as well as commuters,” said one passenger only identified as Nelson.
SME trader Mrs Moyo weighed in saying “we are very happy that the bus terminus has been opened and we have been given the go-ahead to continue trading which is our main source of living.
“I am a breadwinner and have been trading at this market place for years, I have managed to educate my children through trading hence the joy after re-opening of Kudzanai bus terminus.”
Economically the terminus is of paramount importance considering that it is a hub for traders, it gives them a chance to do business with their local clients as well as regional ones travelling to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
Also Kudzanai terminus is a key infrastructure in Gweru a city considered to be at the central point of Zimbabwe as it acts as a gateway that connects road transport users to most parts of the country.
Most commuters agreed that the terminus are very helpful as they protect them and their goods from thieves who mostly posse as touts.
Touts have recently caused havoc to passengers and public transport operators through duping people their hard earned cash while posing as bus conductors and even more worryingly sexual harassment to women and young girls.
On the other hand, some residents and local traders have raised their worries towards the progress rate at which the projects are going.
“We are delighted that Kudzanai terminus has opened, but some of us were stationed at Kombayi trading market.
“We have not traded anything in a year so we are now resorting to illegal vending leaving us playing cat and mouse with the police in the central business district,” said a trader who demanded anonymity.
This comes after international and local organizations have estimated that about 60% of Zimbabweans are self-employed in the informal sector.
Another development that has highly lifted the spirits of passengers and operators of public transport is the improved pavements that no longer possess potholes that had become a headache for all.
Meanwhile there are other notable projects that are keeping Gweru residents on their toes including the refurbishment of Kombayi fruit market, roads and street lighting as well as other small local busses stops.
The local authority have expanded its developmental blitz to include patching major roads surrounding the central business district of Gweru that had developed potholes due to excessive rains and minimum maintenance.