Mmegi Online :: The return of the passenger train is welcome
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Last Updated
Wednesday 14 November 2018, 18:34 pm.
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The return of the passenger train is welcome

Latest news from the Ministry of Transport and Communications confirm that the passenger train will be back in service in the near future.
By Mmegi Editor Wed 10 Dec 2014, 14:28 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The return of the passenger train is welcome








Although the timeframe has not yet been revealed, we are hopeful that the whole process will be concluded in the first quarter of 2015, and the train will be in service at least by June or July the same year.  This year marks five years after the service was suspended for safety reasons.

Botswana Railways still haven’t given this nation a clear explanation as to why the wagons were sold to a Mozambican company, which immediately refurbished and put them into service.

The suspension of the passenger train has not only inconvenienced travellers between the north and the southern part of this country. It can also be linked to many deaths that occurred along the A1 highway in the last five years.

It should be noted that the absence of the passenger train meant that many people were forced to use their own transport, or public buses.

This then increased the volume of traffic along this road and others, resulting in accidents. Statistics show that on average, 400 people die on our roads every year, with thousands others sustaining injuries that leave them permanently disabled and  consequently, are likely to lose their jobs.

This also means that there is a new case of orphaned children almost every

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day as a result of road accidents.  All these problems can be attributed to congestion on our major highways.

It is therefore important to have an alternative mode of transport in the passenger train, which will offload our roads, particularly the A1.

In advanced economies, trains are the mode of transport used for both short distances in cities, and long distances across the country.

We hope that Botswana Railways has come up with a good strategy to run the train commercially, to sustain itself, and that BR has embarked on a benchmarking exercise.

As such, we expect the train to be attractive and affordable to business people, tourists, and ordinary Batswana.  It should be a world-class service that will be at par with standards in developed countries.

Meanwhile, long distance bus operators will not welcome this development as it presents serious competition that might take some of them out of business.  This then calls for improved service. That is, from their side, secure, comfortable, and reliable buses that do not break down before reaching their destination. We hope that the return of the passenger train next year will boost the local tourism industry, create more jobs, and encourage higher standards in public transport service.

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