Private motorists are taking advantage of the temporary ban on public transport during the Covid-19 lockdown period to demand exorbitant fares from Zimbabweans travelling between the country’s towns and cities.

As part of measures to control the spread of the pandemic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March this year banned public intercity travelling but allowed cargo carrying trucks to operate within and outside the country.

Following the ban, desperate travellers have now resorted to private vehicles which are allowed to carry only three passengers at a time.

The private motorists are however taking advantage of the situation through charging ridiculous fares.

“On Monday, I boarded a lift from Bulawayo to Harare and I was made to pay US$20,” said one Margaret Banga.

“I had no choice except to pay the amount because I was going to attend my mother’s burial.

“US$20 is about 1 500 Zimbabwe dollars and that is a lot money. Some people are not even earning that much.”

She appealed to authorities to consider introducing government transporter, ZUPCO intercity to operate under strict Covid-19 prevention conditions.

Before the lockdown, the Bulawayo/Harare route used to cost between $150 and $250.

“A lot of people are forced to travel during this Covid-19 period for different reasons.