THE ZUPCO trains that started operating on September 7 2021 have brought joy and relief to the people.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and ZUPCO introduced the three Harare commuter passenger trains which are efficiently operational.
The three trains are respectively commuting to Mufakose, Ruwa and Tynwald.
It is not only Harare that benefits from this service since Bulawayo is following suit soon.
One aspect that struck me when I boarded one of the trains to Lochinvar is that the trains are very efficient.
I arrived at Lochinvar transit station from town at exactly 5:39am.
At the moment, the trains are operating from Monday to Friday, excluding weekends.
In the morning, heading for Ruwa, the train departs Harare at 5:30, departs Mabvuku transit station at 5:46 and then arrives in Ruwa at 6:25.
In the evening, the Ruwa train leaves Harare at 5:20, departs Mabvuku at 6:15 and arrives in Ruwa at 6:30.
On the flip-side, the train leaves Ruwa in the morning at 6:40, departs Hillside transit station at 7 and arrives at Harare station at 7:35.
In the evening, it leaves Ruwa at 6:40, departs Mabvuku at 6:56 and arrives in Harare at 7:35.
The morning train heading to Mufakose departs Harare station at 5:15, departs Lochinvar at 5:39 and arrives at Marimba at 6:10.
The evening train for Mufakose also leaves the Harare station at 5:30, departs Lochinvar at 5:57 and arrives at Marimba at 6:15.
In the morning, the train departs Marimba at 6:25, departs Lochinvar at 6:55 and arrives at the Harare station at 7:20.
In the evening, the train departs from Marimba at 6:30, departs Lochinvar at 6:48 and arrives at the Harare station at 7:20.
The morning train heading to Tynwald departs Harare station at 5:15, departs Lochinvar at 5:52 and arrives at Tynwald station at 6:30.
In the evening, the train leaves the Harare station at 5:20, departs Lochinvar at 5:12 and arrives at Tynwald at 6:11.
On the flip-side, the train leaves Tynwald at 6:45, departs Lochinvar at 7:20 and arrives in Harare at 7:30.
There is no doubt that the commuter trains are a very safe mode of transport.
This writer has been to Cape Town, South Africa and has used commuter trains there from Parrow in Eastern Cape and connected to Kenilworth station on several occasions and noticed how it is unsafe to be in a deserted locomotive.
In the evening, passengers are told by security men not to sit in deserted coaches because they might be robbed.
The other passengers and myself have been escorted from half-full coaches to avoid possible robbery that often takes place in Cape Town, but it is not the case in Zimbabwe because of the country’s improved security systems.
“Zimbabwe is a very safe place to be and riding on a train is still a safe thing to do and we do not expect any mishap anywhere,” said one passenger to whom I divulged my Cape Town experience.
Perpetrators are dealt with and face the firm hand of the law.
Indeed, commuter trains are a giant leap and Zimbabwe is headed in the right direction.