THE introduction of the commuter train service will greatly assist to ease traffic congestion in Lusaka, says Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) publicity and information officer Juba Sakala.
Mr Sakala said the move by the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to introduce the service was a welcome gesture for enhanced movement of people away from the heavy reliance on road transport.
He said the commuter train would allow for travellers to choose what mode of transport to use instead of depending on the minibuses and taxis.
“It will greatly contribute to the decongestion of our roads currently chocked by minibuses, the majority of which are not even roadworthy.
“ZACA has welcomed the introduction by Zambia Railways LTD to introduce a commuter train service to operate in Lusaka from Lilayi to Ngwerere,” he said.
He said the innovation aimed to promote consumer choice and also competition in the public transport sector which was predominantly run by minibus operators.
Mr Sakala has appealed to the Government for more investment towards improving the railway system to allow for increased access to the 1067km railway track currently servicing Chililabombwe through to Livingstone, including improved speed so that Zambia Railways could expand its customer base on both passengers and freight train services.
And Mr Sakala said the re-occurring damage to the Chingola–Solwezi road was a sign of the growing market for investment in the railway sector.
He said the large number of heavy trucks transporting mining materials and related products exerts a lot of pressure on the road causing re-occurring damage.
“Switching the transportation of such materials from road to railway will prove to be more sustainable in the long-run.
“It is for this reason that Government must engage the developer of the North-Western Railways to complete the project without undue delays,” he said.
He has since called on other parastatal companies to emulate the innovation of Zambia Railways management by introducing new products on the market.
ZACA has also called on the members of the public to avoid intentional damage to public property and avoid encroaching on the rail line, land and infrastructure.