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The municipal bus companies in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola have substantially increased the number of buses on the roads since a visit by President Filipe Nyusi to the Transport Ministry and various transport companies in April – but there are still nowhere near enough publicly owned buses to solve the passenger transport problems of the two cities.
Speaking on Wednesday, as he visited the premises of the two companies, Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita said that in April the Maputo municipal bus company (EMTPM) had a daily average of only 25 buses in circulation. Thanks to support from the government’s Transport and Communications Fund, and from the Ports and Rail company (CFM), 34 buses that were out of order have been repaired, bringing the number of EMTPM buses on the road up to 59.
As for the Matola company (ETM), in April it only had 12 operational buses. According to its manager, Eliado Mussengue, the number should have been 22. But eight out of the ten new buses that ETM received in February, each of which cost nine million meticais (about 150,000 US dollars), proved to have inappropriate seats for urban public transport. They also came with just one door, instead of the two specified by the company, and lacked handrails. ETM had to contact the supplier to demand corrections.
“There was a mistake with regard to the specifics requested of the buses”, said Mussengue. “But we have put the legal mechanisms into action, and the problem of doors, seats and handrails will be corrected”. He expected the problem to be solved by the end of July. There are currently 25 ETM buses on the streets of Matola.
Mesquita recommended that the two companies find solutions for their maintenance problems and to ensure regular fuel supplies.
“It’s been proved that we don’t need foreigners to solve these problems”, he said. “In recent months we have noted improvements and that’s how we should continue until we manage to make transport fully available to all municipal citizens”.
Both companies, particularly ETM, were severely overmanned, with far too many workers for the small number of buses on the roads.
In the last three years, ETM has cut its work force by half – but it still has too many workers, Currently 140 of its workers are suspended and with wage arrears. Mesquita had no doubt that these workers needed to be made redundant. “It was necessary to remove the workers, because there were too many of them for the number of buses”, he said.Source: AIM / Miramar
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