Pirate taxis have remained thriving on the roads despite presence of police roadblocks in a clear show of regulation failure.
The announcement of a ban on intercity travelling has also not made any difference for the determined.
The drivers operate freely despite the presence of both ZRP and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) members at roadblocks.
Godfrey Moyo (37), a Norton to Harare pirate taxi driver says their trade is simple.
“Police are starving and only need occasional payments of between US$3 and US$5 depending on the size of your vehicle.
“Once you have arranged for that money, you are waved through when you come to the roadblock,” he says.
Moyo says its also depends on the number of passengers one will be carrying.
The roadblocks have essentially been reduced to “tollgates” for the police to collect money.
With ZUPCO struggling to service the commuters, the pirate taxis have found a ready market.
Dormitory towns such as Norton and Chitungwiza have thousands of people daily travelling to Harare.
Often waking up early to get to work in time, they are ready for any available transport.
In Norton the few ZUPCO buses that ply their route are few and erratic.
“Once they go to lunch, you wait for very long periods.
“We are informal traders, we cannot operate with a transporter who is so erratic”, says Susan Masanga (34).
The use of packed ZUPCOs has also been complained about due to Covid19.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says the arrangement is queer.
“The Zambians just had elections during Covid, yet we have stopped our own by-elections.
“However, we have ZUPCOs moving around packed with people”, he says.
During the day, Katanga shopping centre is a hive of activity as the pirate taxis are loading.
Predominant are Honda Fits and Toyota Wish vehicles.
In a bid to maximise their profits the drivers fit as many passengers as possible.
The front seats of a small Honda Fit carry four passengers in a compressed arrangement that is very dangerous.
This has previously resulted in fatal accidents.
Government has recently extended the level 4 lockdown measures meaning the arrangements will persist.
Intercity travelling remains banned but pirate taxis have everything in order.
The police and soldiers do not care, they simply need to be paid their “toll” fee.