The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) in partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) yesterday launched a Zupco railway commuter train in the City of Kings to alleviate transport challenges.
In September 2021, the first Zupco railway commuter system was introduced in Harare in low-income western and eastern areas of the capital as more people had to commute to the city centre following the relaxation of the pandemic lockdown.
In Bulawayo, the passenger train started operating at $50 a trip, with commuters applauding the reintroduction of the commuter trains, which used to ply a decade ago, but were halted at the height of Zimbabwe's economic challenges.
During the launch, Zupco regional manager for the Southern Division, Mr Pineyi Rwahoka, said the introduction of the train service is designed to cushion commuters and to give them a choice in the type of transport service they desire.
Mr Rwahoka said the service will however need extensive marketing for it to gain traction.
“There is a general need for improved access to transport services hence the introduction of this passenger train service. We do, however, realise that there will be a need for an extensive marketing outreach to make the service viable,” said Mr Rwahoka.
He said just like in Harare, Bulawayo commuters have shown interest in the introduction of the passenger train service which offers cheaper fares compared to private transporters.
“People are really happy and interested in the trains because most of them stay near the pickup points,” he said.
The train schedule in the morning, will be as follows; depart Bulawayo at 0410hrs and arrives in Siphaziphazi at 05.25hrs and departs Siphaziphazi at 0545hrs and arrives at the Bulawayo Main Station at 0700hrs.
In the evening the train will leave the main station at 17.30hrs arriving at Siphaziphazi at 18.45hrs.
The pickup and drop off points along the route are; Westgate, Mpopoma, Nguboyenja, Luveve, Cowdray Park level crossing, Green Roof Esigodweni and finally Siphaziphazi.