THE introduction of commuter train mode of transportation in Lusaka will force bus operators to reduce fares due to stiff competition they will face, says Commuter Rights Association president Aaron Kamuti.
Mr Kamuti said there was no competition in the motorised transport sector which created a monopoly in the delivery of services to the people.
He said fares for the commuter train have been set quite low to encourage many people to use the rail system and help reduce traffic congestion on the roads. He explained that most roads in the capital city were being suffocated with high traffic but that the coming of the commuter train would help reduce the numbers of vehicles on the roads.
“The re-introduction of the Njanji commuter train will definitely push bus operators to reduce fares because using a train is much cheaper.
“What we need now is for both the Lilayi-Kabanana and the Chilenje-George compound trains to be working to give people alternative modes of transport,” he said.
Mr Kamuti said the train charges pegged at K2 per trip were affordable making the train the alternative mode of transport for the people around Lusaka.
He said many people only used the town route because there was no alternative to cross over to their destinations, but with the coming of the train it would be easy to avoid crossing the central business district, thus reducing the cost on transport.
And some commuters told the Daily Nation in an interview that the coming of the Njianji commuter would help reduce congestion around the three major stations around town centre including the Lusaka City Market.
Ms Joyce Chibuye of Chilenje Chris Corner area said the train would help reduce the morning congestion on the town-bound routes and help workers get to their offices in time.
Ms Chibuye said many people would benefit from the local train services as a cost-saving measure as well as helping to reduce traffic congestion on the roads. “This train is set to benefit both commuters and private motorists who should enjoy convenience of cost as well as reduced congestion on the roads.
“There is too much traffic nowadays and we are hoping the train can reduce the number of vehicles especially buses or taxis which congest the roads during peak hours,” she said.