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Rift Valley Railways in Uganda to start daily city train shuttles

Monday August 22, 2011

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) in Uganda is ready to start a commuter train service to link Kampala city with its suburban towns in order to ease transport costs and traffic jams.

Company Operations Manager Peter Owollo told New Vision over the weekend that they will initially run the services from Kampala to Namanve, connecting via Makerere Business school, Meat packers, interfrieght headquarters, Banda, Kireka and Bweyogerere Stages.

?These are going to be daily commuter trains running from Monday to Friday providing transport services to people from the districts of Wakiso and Kampala,? Owollo said.

He added that after a month of transport services, trains will also cover Jinja areas over the weekends.

?At the beginning we will cover a small distance as we are testing our services but in future we will spread wide to cover more districts in the country,? Owollo explained.

Owollo noted that five commuter coaches are ready for the services adding that their target is to have eight commuter coaches in service these remaining three are being arranged from their Nairobi headquarters.

?Each of our five coaches will carry 80 passengers and this will go a long way in easing traffic in the capital,? he said.

Owollo said that transport fares for the whole route from Kampala to Namanve will cost sh1500 and the return journeys will cost the same amount.

?Every passenger will be paying sh1500 irrespective of the distance. Over the weekends the Jinja route will cost sh5000 from Kampala to Jinja railway station.

RVR General Manager James Nyambari said that they are only waiting for the approval from the transport ministry to carry out their operations. He however blamed the delay to resume railway transport in Uganda on the encroachers along the railway line.

?There are very many people who have settled along the railway reserve land which has made it impossible for our operations to kick off,? he said.

Nyambari cited Places like Kinawataka, Banda, Kireka and Namilyango among others where railwaty stations were turned into market places with business being transacted all the time.

?We have evicted some illegal encroachers between Namilyango and Kampala and we are to do so to other encroachers along the railway reserve land,? Nyambari said.

He said that the new development will mainly benefit people working between Kampala and Mukono areas, adding that the fares will be affordable to all people.

He urged the public to respect the railway reserve land to allow quick maintenance and expansion of the railway lines.

By Simon Masaba & Andrew Ssenyonga: The New Vision Newspaper

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