National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has invited commuters for a free ride this Friday afternoon in an apparent attempt to promote its fledgling alliance with the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), which was granted the sole licence to service the country’s unstable urban transport system.
In a statement Thursday, ZUPCO said the free service was for Friday afternoon only.
“Please note, tomorrow Friday 24/9/21 all the afternoon Zupco-Nrz train services will be free.
“This is to thank all of us who have used the service thus far and importantly to request that all of us try the convenient ride home. Once you try, you will not stop,” said the company.
Free ride home on ZUPCO-NRZ trains this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/WzbZZC38lj
— ZUPCO (@zupcobus) September 24, 2021
Although the ostensible free transport offer is to thank commuters for using the service, it is apparent the public transporter is trying to find more takers to its controversial service.
Government rolled out the train service to transport commuters in Harare and Bulawayo as a mitigatory measure to its disastrous ban on private operators into the public transport sector.
This is after it abruptly banned private transporters during the onset of the Covid-19 induced lockdown and re-imposed Zupco as the sole urban transport operator.
But the move has backfired as commuters now have to endure long periods daily hunting for transport.
The situation has been worsened by a recent move by police to demand $2 000 fines each from commuters found using unregistered private operators commonly referred to as mushika shika.
NRZ offers train services to Harare suburbs such as Ruwa, Mabvuku and Hillside, Lochnivar, Kambuzuma and Mufakose.