Maputo, 20 Jul (AIM) - The publicly-owned Maputo bus company, TPM, only has the capacity to carry 8.3 per cent of the people seeking transport services in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola.
According to information given on Monday to Prime Minister Ares Ali when he visited the TPM premises, public transport in the two cities serves a total of 900,000 passengers a day - but only 75,000 of these journeys are made in TPM buses.
"Our perspective for the coming period is to increase our fleet so that we can carry 80,000 passengers a day", the chairperson of the TPM board, Domingos Fernando told Ali.
These figures show that passenger transport is still dominated by the privately owned minibuses, known colloquially as "chapas".
There are about 2,500 chapas circulating in Maputo and Matola. TPM has just 110 buses on the streets. According to Fernando's figures, each of them is transporting over 680 passengers a day.
Neither the buses nor the chapas can meet the full demand for transport in the cities. Hence at peak periods, long queues build up waiting for both the TPM buses and the chapas.
Fernando told reporters that to minimize the problem, TPM needs to more than double its operational fleet. With an extra 180 buses, the problem could be more or less solved, he thought.
The company is recovering from its low point of 2007, when it only owned 84 buses, but is still a long way short of the days of the early 1980s, when there were no such things as "chapas", and TPM had 290 buses.
Ali stressed that the transport shortage is intimately linked to the rise in the population of the Maputo-Matola conurbation. "As a government, we're concerned about this, and that's why I'm here - to have an idea of what needs to be done to solve the problem".
The current TPM fleet is 189 strong - but not all these buses are on the streets of Maputo and Matola. Apart from those that are undergoing maintenance and repair, some are in delegations that TPM has opened in other provinces (Gaza, Inhambane and Zambezia).
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