BY NIZBERT MOYO
GOVERNMENT has re-launched the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) commuter train in Bulawayo to provide affordable transport services to residents.
This follows an outcry by residents over shortage of transport after the ban of private commuter omnibuses and the introduction of the Zupco monopoly in 2018.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube yesterday told Southern Eye that commuter rail passenger services would not be profit-driven.
“This National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ/Zupco) passenger company is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment towards putting the commuting public and workers first because they deserve a safe, affordable, efficient and reliable alternative means of transport,” Ncube said.
“It is worth noting that the commuter rail passenger services the world over are not profit-driven.
“Rail commuter trains are social obligations that are sustained through government subsidies.”
Ncube said the Zupco freedom train for Cowdray Park consisted of 10 coaches.
She implored the NRZ and Zupco management to consider resuming the same services for the Emganwini route.
NRZ board chairperson Martin Dinha, in a speech read on his behalf said the NRZ/Zupco partnership would be implemented while the NRZ pushed for comprehensive restructuring and recapitalisation of the rail company.
“Let me remind everyone that the reintroduction of commuter trains to alleviate the burden on the urban working population is very much in the mix of the NRZ turnaround strategy,’’Dinha said.
NRZ acting spokesperson Martin Banda said the commuter train resumed its operations on November 1, and was launched on Monday.
“It departs from Esiphaziphazi at 530am and arrives at the main station at 7am. In the evening, it departs the main station at 17:30 and arrives at Esiphaziphazi at 18:45,’’ Banda said, adding that the fare would be $50 which is the same as the fare for Zupco buses.