BCC upgrading Egodini to a modern public transport hub
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On completion, the project is expected to increase volumes of traffic through the city from the region, thereby reinstating the city and the country as the heart of road transportation in Southern Africa.
Business people and economic analysts have said the resuscitation of Bulawayo industries and a significant contribution to the fiscus by the city are some of the projected spill-offs from the project.
The Bulawayo City Council has invited bids from organisations or individuals interested in undertaking the project.
Submission of bids closes on 20 June at 12 pm.
According to the bid invitation document, the scope of the project entails developing the terminus into a public transport hub for Southern Africa and local commuter transport-cum commercial complex.
"Bidders should incorporate shopping facilities as may be appropriate for the travelling public, create a pleasant and convenient space for pedestrian traffic and create as much space as possible for various activities associated with a travel centre, preferably at different levels. They should also create a development that blends with Lobengula Street Mall and the Central Business District," read the invitation.
The local authority also requires bidders to understand public transport linkages with other cities in Zimbabwe and the Sadc region, and make a financial appraisal of the project.
The city's director of engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube, yesterday said it was too early for him to make a statement.
"I cannot reveal the expected cost or the time frame for the project because it would prejudice the bidding process. We want interested organisations to even dream beyond council's expectations on this one. Making any premature statements may restrict their proposals to a certain direction," said Eng Dube.
He first spoke publicly about the modernisation of transport facilities in the city during Bulawayo's public transport policy meeting in November last year.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce's Bulawayo chairperson, Mrs Ntombenhle Moyo, said businesspeople in the city are excited about the project.
"If it is developed the way it is being presented, there will be a lot of people passing through Bulawayo and this will put the city in the limelight. It would increase chances of attracting investors and helping struggling industries," said Mrs Moyo.
However, she said the city should actually implement the project as business people are tired of ambitious programmes that are often announced but fail to take off.
Mrs Thokozile Dlodlo, a business woman in the city, said the retail sector was likely to be the biggest beneficiary.
"If the anticipated traffic volumes actually materialise, supermarkets and other retailers around the facility are likely to experience a boom. It would be in their best interests to ensure that they become one stop shopping centres for all the travellers. I hope the city fathers will move with all speed to implement this project," said Mrs Dlodlo.
Economic analyst Dr Eric Bloch said the facility was likely to stimulate business growth and reduce unemployment in Bulawayo.
He said, besides the city's economy, the national economy would also be uplifted.
"To a certain extent, the country will receive a boost in tourist arrivals. Improved transport facilities would increase the attraction for regional tourists," said Dr Bloch.
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