A cross-section of the public has expressed outrage at government’s decision to review tollgate fees upwards by 100%.
BY OUR STAFF
According to a Statutory Instrument published in the Government Gazette on Friday, Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu made amendments to the Toll Roads (Regional Trunk Road Network) (Amendment) Regulations of 2010 to effect the increase.
The move will result in all classes of vehicles paying double the amount of money they used to pay at tollgates before the increase.
Light motor vehicles will now fork out US$2 from US$1, while heavy vehicles will pay US$10 from US$5.
A Harare motorist, James Ringisai said government was being insensitive to the needs and challenges that people were facing.
“This is simply outrageous. I don’t know why government wants to squeeze money out of people’s pockets in such a ridiculous manner. Surely they should revisit this nonsense,” said Ringisai.
A snap survey carried out by The Standard yesterday however showed that the increase had not yet been effected as motorists were still paying the old toll fees.
One truck driver, who was just about to cross the first tollgate along the Harare-Masvingo highway, said the move would burden cash-strapped motorists.
“Things are going to be increasingly difficult after this increase. Look, the United States dollar is really hard to come by and I wonder where they think we will get that money from,” said Robson Chazuka.
“I don’t think it will be business as usual for some of us who have to cross and pay at these tollgates every day,” he said.
Another motorist who preferred anonymity said the tollgate fee increase was “absolutely” unjustified.
“We are not seeing any improvements on our roads but we have been paying these fees year in and year out. For example this Harare-Masvingo road is a hazard to travel on because it is damaged.
Where is our money going?” asked the angry motorist.
“They are doing whatever they want with this country, these government officials. Who did they consult before effecting this increase?” fumed the motorist.
Public Transporters Association spokesperson Esau Mupfumi described the move as unfair on both the commuting public and commuter service providers.
“The decision should be revisited. It is very unfair because we have not seen any changes on the roads ever since we began paying the money,” said Mupfumi.
“They think the economy is normal but it’s not, the public simply doesn’t have the money.”
Mupfumi said public transporters would be forced to increase bus fares while commuters would opt for other means of travelling.
The situation, he said, would negatively affect public transporters’ viability.