My name is Ishmael Badza. I am a 42 year old Zimbabwean. My company is called Badish Unitary Merchants Pvt Ltd, which is a small, but growing company in the building and construction industry. We have managed to buy four bicycles from World Bicycle Relief for our employees.
The idea of purchasing the bicycles came as a way to reduce transport problems and costs to workers. We have purchased both the 26″ and 28″ bicycles. The bicycles are very strong, reliable in speed, and flexible when cycling, that you are guaranteed of your journey. Both bicycles carry a load on the carrier of up to 100kg at a time.
The Buffalo bicycles are being used by Badish workers to and from work daily, covering a total distance of 60-70km each day. There have been some great changes in punctuality at work with guys using bicycles, as compared to those using buses and taxis to come to work. Transport costs have also been reduced by about 95%, as there are times when we still use public transport.
Before we had bicycles we were using taxis, which, depending on the places in which we get construction jobs, would cost us four to five dollars a day. The commuter omnibuses charge us $1 from our home to the central taxi rank, and then $1 to our place of work. We pay the same again to return home in the evening. The total amount we end up spending on transport each month varies from $80 to $100.
To add to this, the disadvantage of using taxis is that during peak hours the charges go up to $1.50 per leg. To avoid these peak charges, we need to wake up at 4:30am to make sure that we get to the taxi rank by 5:30, or we travel after peak hours and end up arriving at work late. Our work day ends at 5pm, and we face the same challenges again, and we end up getting home between 7:30 and 8:00pm.
Now that we ride bicycles the same journey takes us just over one hour. In Zimbabwe, times are tough, the economy has not been doing well and we are still struggling. Our own currency became valueless and we now use the US dollar. Now that we have a bicycle, we no longer need to spend money on taxis and public transport. The Buffalo bicycle cost us $160, which is equivalent to two months of taxi fares. After these two months we have been able to put this money into our pockets. An extra $80 per month is a lot of money in Zimbabwe.