Wednesday, 8 September 2021

COMMUTERS HAIL NEW TRAIN SERVICE


The new Harare commuter train services run by Zupco and the National Railways of Zimbabwe started yesterday afternoon on the Mufakose route, with those trying it out given a free test ride.

The Ruwa route starts today and the third service, the Tynwald route, starts on Monday next week.

Large crowds thronged Harare railway station to test the Mufakose route.

As advertised, the train stopped at Lever Brothers, Lochinvar and Kambuzuma, dropping off passengers at the stations where Zupco buses and kombis were waiting to take them to their final destinations.

The trains have 10 coaches each and a carrying capacity of 100 passengers per coach. This means that one train has a carrying capacity of 1 000 passengers on each trip, roughly the equivalent of 15 or more buses with standing passengers still banned.

According to the time table, the train leaves town to Mufakose at 5:15am and arrives there at 6:10am, loads passengers before leaving for the city centre at 6:25am and arriving at 7:20am, enough time for workers to get to their places of business before 8am.

In the evening, the train leaves the city centre at 5:30pm and arrives in Mufakose at 6:15pm, then leaves Mufakose at 6:30pm and arrives in town at 7:20pm.

A commuter, Israel Mahwada said he was excited by the introduction of trains as they will help in reducing transport woes in the city centre.

“I think this service will help us because a train carries more people compared to buses and kombis,” he said.

Added Mahwada: “This will make people travel in time without delays due to congestion. What I do not know is that as something which has just started, is it going to be sustainable going forward? For now, this service will help us a lot in getting home in time without delays.”

Another commuter, Kudakwashe Chimutanda of Budiriro was worried about the connecting bus services. Zupco has announced that buses will be available at the stopping points. Budiriro is served by the Mufakose route, the railway line running between the two suburbs.

While Chimutanda was enthusiastic, he wanted Zupco to continue having buses in both directions at each station, and to keep its promise of a single $60 ticket for the train and connecting bus.

Another commuter, Admire Mawarura, said the reintroduction of trains was good as it was cheaper and efficient.

“This initiative is good because currently, due to economic challenges, some people are struggling to make ends meet and the train is cheaper and safer so it is much better for us. It reduces congestion in town and it also shows that there is development happening in the country,” he said. Herald

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