By Daniel Mhonda
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) said it was overwhelmed by the number of people who travelled by rail to different destinations during the Christmas holiday after most transporters hiked their fares.
NRZ public relations officer Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said most commuters resorted to travelling by train as bus fares soared during the festive season.
“As a result of ‘fuel crisis’ that is being faced during the festive season, bus operators hiked their fares beyond the reach of many commuters who wanted to visit their families during the holidays,” he said.
Mr Maravanyika said demand was particularly high on the Mutare-Harare route.
“As a result of the pressure we received from passengers we had to temporally stop some commuter coaches to assist the inter-city coaches. We did not change our prices despite the increase in the number of travellers,” he said.
NRZ was charging $6 from Harare to Mutare while other transporters were charging between $25 and $30. Mr Maravanyika said Government should prioritise investment in rail transport as it can assist in economic development.
“At some point we actually had to leave a lot of people at our stations whom we could not help because of ageing equipment. We believe as we move towards the development of the economy Government should priorities the refurbishment of the railway system. It is the cheapest and safest mode of transport,” he said.
He said they are working hard to come up with best ways that ensures full utilisation of the $216 million allocated to NRZ by the Minister of Finance in the Nation Budget. The Herald