Bulawayo Presidents Dump Taxis For Commuter Trains
15 November 2018

Residents have moved to dump commuter omnibuses for commuter trains as privately owned kombis continue to charge exorbitant fees citing increase in cost of living.

This comes as at least 5000 passengers boarded the recently re-introduced City-Cowdray Park commuter train in the first five days of its operation.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) reintroduced the commuter train in response to appeals from the travelling public as kombis were hiking fares to as much as $2 at peak times for a trip into the city.

NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika said since the re-introduction of the commuter train, the rail giant has been inundated with requests for the NRZ to offer similar services in other cities apart from their intercity passenger train services.

“We are pleased to note that the travelling public has responded positively to the re-introduction of commuter trains in Bulawayo,” Maravanyika said.

“The commuter train started operating on November 5 2018, running from Monday to Friday with two services daily in the morning and evening.”

The rail entity is charging $0, 50 for a single trip.

NRZ said on the first morning run on November 5, about 309 passengers boarded the train with the number increasing to 350 on the return trip in the evening.

“On Tuesday 532 boarded in the morning and 537 in the evening,” Maravanyika said, adding:

“Wednesday morning attracted the highest patronage of the week with 743 passengers boarding. In the evening the commuter train carried 486 passengers. Thursday saw the morning service recording 618 passengers while 489 were on the evening service. On Friday 607 passengers boarded the morning train compared to 334 on the evening train. The train also managed to maintain right time departures and arrivals, thus sticking to scheduled times.”

The commuter train has seven coaches with each coach having a capacity of 100 passengers.

With 5005 passengers having boarded the train in its first week, the capacity utilisation for the initial five days is 71 percent.

“NRZ is pleased and satisfied with how it has managed to service the route conveniently for its encouraging commuter train patronage,” Maravanyika said.

“It has also noted requests from passengers who work mainly in the industrial sites who would like the train to leave Cowdray Park earlier so that they have ample time to walk to their workplaces.

“However, it should be noted that in coming up with the departure times the NRZ is trying to balance the interests of passengers who start work early and those who start at traditional 0800 Hours as per many companies’ business hours.”