The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has reversed its decision to suspend urban commuter train service less than 24 hours after announcing the move.
On Saturday, 26 November, NRZ public affairs and stakeholder relations manager Andrew Kunambura said the service would be suspended from Monday, 28 November.
But in a statement on Sunday, 27 November, Kunambura said he was withdrawing the previous statement. He said:
NRZ hereby withdraws the press statement issued this Saturday 26 November 2022 on the [suspension of commuter train service].
The commuting public will be updated if there are any new developments.
Any inconvenience caused to our valued customers and other stakeholders is sincerely regretted.
The NRZ commuter trains ply various routes in Harare and Bulawayo and were introduced last year through a partnership between the NRZ and the Zimbabwe Passenger Company (ZUPCO).
The introduction of commuter trains was aimed at lessening congestion and easing the transport challenges that urban commuters were facing.
Yesterday, Kunambura said the suspension of the service was necessitated by ZUPCO’s failure to pay overdue fees. He said:
The suspension was occasioned by an unsustainable operating environment arising from huge debts owed to NRZ by ZUPCO.
NRZ was therefore left with no option but to suspend commuter trains from 28 November due to capacity challenges.
Normal services will resume once ZUPCO fulfills its obligations as set in the agreement.
Any inconvenience caused to our valued customers is sincerely regretted.
NRZ’s U-turn will come as a huge relief to commuters as trains provide a cheaper mode of transport compared to kombis.