Maputo’s publicly owned bus company, TPM, is gradually reopening old routes within the Maputo-Matola connurbation that had been temporarily suspended because of a shortage of buses, reports Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
This move is now possible because the company is purchasing 100 new buses, and started receiving them in May. The government plan is to supply 20 buses per month until October.
A first batch of 10 was supplied in May, and another 10 arrived two weeks ago. These 20 Volkswagen buses are already circulating in the streets of Maputo. The South African supplier claims that from now on it will make good its promise to supply the buses in monthly batches of 20.
The supplier justified failure to honour its promise in the initial months of the deal, on the grounds of technical problems in the company’s assembly workshops, but these should be overcome before the end of this month.
TPM has reopened, with a single bus, the route to Liberdade neighbourhood, in Matola, which has been without public transport for several years. As more new buses arrive, other old routes will be re-opened, and new ones created, to take advantage of new roads being built in some Maputo suburbs.
TPM spokesperson Boaventura Lipangue told reporters that with the 10 new buses, his company now has 99 vehicles. But many of them are off the roads, and on any given day only about 50 are operational.
He recalled that the 100 buses now being supplied fulfil a promise made by Transport Minister Paulo Zucula, when he visited the TPM premises in March, to minimise the crisis of transport in the city.
On that occasion, Zucula also promised to empower the company in terms of its capacity to maintain and repair its fleet of vehicles.
Because of TPM’s poor capacity to respond to passengers’ needs, for many years most passenger transport has been left in the hands of poorly maintained and desperately overcrowded private minibuses. With the new investment, it is hoped that TPM will recovers its role as the main supplier of public transport in the city.