About 1.5 million cars pass through Harare’s streets daily. This is according to the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR). Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister, July Moyo, said the city fathers must double efforts to deal with congestion.
“According to the Central Vehicle Registry, the volume of traffic in our roads has increased over the years to about 1.5 million vehicles plying the CBD in Harare. The nature of our road infrastructure and increased volume of traffic together contributes towards traffic congestion,” he said.
To date, 3 200 vehicles have been impounded while more than 1 000 were towed away for violating traffic laws.
“The human resources and general purposes committee has already considered increasing the traffic establishment from 271 to 561 positions and the proposed changes to the overall establishment of council as new posts will be set off against non-critical vacant positions as part of the rationalization of the establishment and ensuring that the overall cost is within budget. We have approved the increase of the establishment for traffic enforcement from the current 271 to 1139 positions,” Moyo said.
But, the Harare transport woes could be eased.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s public transport utility, ZUPCO and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) partnered to run a commuter train service during peak hours in Harare in an effort to ease transport challenges in Zimbabwe’s capital.
However, urban planner Dr Percy Toriro has suggested a light rail system which he says will effectively eradicate transport challenges, not only in Harare but across all urban centres.
“People that have followed the history of the city actually know that there used to be a light rail that used to service some of the areas, long back, during the colonial days. It is the way to go because really, there is no city besides Harare that relies entirely on kombis. It does not work,” he said.
However, many are wondering, what the Harare city council is doing to complement efforts by central government to provide a reliable urban transport system. Council spokesperson Michael
Chideme said the city of Harare is working with government in all respects to do with transportation and decongesting the city.
“So we are part of the government plans to improve the transport situation in the city where we provide infrastructure, the roads, transport enforcement officers and so forth. The city is ready for that big development,” he said.