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NRZ plans commuter trains return

by Staff reporter
26 Oct 2018 at 06:38hrs | Views
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe is looking at possibilities of re-introducing commuter passenger trains to cushion the public from the prevailing transport hardships.

In an interview, NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said his organisation has received public calls requesting the re-introduction of commuter trains.

The calls come at a time when commuter omnibus operators have increased fares from $0,50 to $1.

"There are calls from the public and other quarters concerning re-introduction of commuter passenger trains seeing that the transport situation is worsening every day. Even our parent ministry has also had such calls and at the moment we are looking at the possibilities of re-introducing commuter trains," he said.

"But our main challenge are our coaches, many of them are in a bad state so there is a need to look at the coaches that are fit for commuters and we are looking at those issues so that we can see if we can have enough coaches for that."

Mr Maravanyika, however, said so far nothing concrete has been concluded regarding re-introducing commuter trains. He described as a "hoax" a Whatsapp message circulating suggesting that the parastatal would be re-introducing commuter trains in Bulawayo servicing Luveve-town and Emganwini-town routes next week.

"The Whatsapp message that is circulating suggesting that we will be re-introducing commuter trains and charging people $0,25 is a hoax.

"We are looking at the possibilities of doing that and once we're satisfied with all the conditions that are needed we will be able to relay a concrete position in that regard," he said.

Mr Maravanyika said the NRZ sympathises with commuters given the transport challenges they were facing at the moment.

"Definitely it's a pity and we feel for the commuters but at the same time, we also don't want to endanger the lives of various commuters.

"As you might be aware, our equipment and track are now very old, so when we commit ourselves to doing this, we need to make sure that we find the right coaches with everything in terms of convenience that can satisfy the commuters rather than to do things for the sake of trying to help the commuters but at the same time creating a hazardous situation," he said.

If the NRZ re-introduces the commuter trains, they will be deployed in Harare and Bulawayo cognisant of the parastatal's capacity, said Mr Maravanyika.

The strategic transporter suspended commuter trains at the height of the hyperinflationary environment between 2007 and 2008.

Source - chronicle