This is the back story for today’s rant. It’s a bit of an old rant but hey, a rant is a rant. So the Government of Zimbabwe has decided that there are going to be urban toll gates around Harare. It seems like that want to further fleece us poor motorists off our hard-earned peanuts. Already we are double taxed on fuel and also when we pay our road tax. Now they want to try and implement a system that will eventually reduce the number of cars and congestion that is in the CBD. It’s a very noble gesture. Less traffic in town will make it more bearable to walk around town, there will be less noise pollution and air pollution as there will be less cars driving around. As I said, all very admirable.
The issue I have is that as much as they are the government and they care not what the inhabitants of their country think, it would be nice if they had a consultation with us about this issue. Even if we, the residents of Harare, flat out refused for urban tolls and they went ahead at least we would feel like they listened to what we had to say.
There are too many flaws with this idea. So I’m going to talk about a brief aside.
So in London they have what is known as a congestion zone. Essentially it’s certain parts of central London where you have to pay a fee to enter with a car Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm. On the other hand, if one needs to get to those parts of London and doesn’t want to drive then the next option is public transport which in fact, is in HUGE abundance.
It works because there is another option as a form of transport. Harare has our wonderful commuter omnibuses and our private cars that turn into people carriers. So now the next question becomes will commuter omnibuses and other public transport operators be charged at the toll gates? Where will these toll gates be placed?
With the hard times that have befallen a lot of people in this country, I can almost guarantee that most of us will find a way around the toll gates. In the urban areas of Harare, there is always a way around. It is very different from the toll gates on the highways. Very often there isn’t a road that can take you around a toll gate if you are trying to avoid them. You can’t most of the time. In town, people will find a way around them. I know I will.