THE government is upbeat on meeting the high demand for passenger train services in the revived Northern Line.
Introduction of the deluxe train services between Dar es Salaam and Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region has shifted the demand for transport with many travelers between the two destinations choosing the railway ahead of the usual road transport.
Traditionally, end of year festive season, sees a flurry of passengers moving from the commercial city of Dar es Salaam to their native Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions to celebrate Christmas and New Year with family and friends.
While December often witnesses huge traffic to the Northern regions, January the traffic flows heavily towards Dar es Salaam.
The coming of the passenger train has eased the demand for transport, but created yet another challenge, with the number of holiday goers apparently going up.
The Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Engineer Isack Kamwelwe availed to the ‘AFRICA Press’ that in spite of availability of passenger buses to and from different destinations in the country, there was a change in that people were looking for railway transport.
Engineer Kamwelwe said he has personally got the firsthand experience by either visiting train stations or speaking to passengers and those who anticipated traveling in the future and the call was to be ensured of reliable railway transport and that he was going to see that implemented.
“I am not talking from other people’s experiences; I have it first hand and because of that huge demand we have to adjust service delivery; the way to do that in the near future is by procuring new vehicles for our trains.
“There is really a huge pressure, great need and we are going to handle it soon.
For Kilimanjaro bound train, I went in the vehicles and saw the people; I was interested to look at and talk to those who were seemingly really desperate …old women, old men, children…at last they were so joyous that they got tickets to go home for the holidays,” said Mr Kamwelwe.
He added that he has been receiving phone calls from different people who are willing to use that kind of transport to upcountry.
He cited Mwanza as a region from which people have demanded that transport while for Kigoma they were looking for more shuttles per week.
Mr Kamwelwe said his ministry through TRL was out to expand railway transport and that strategies are well being processed to see more vehicles and adjust the routes so as to meet the demand curve.
By next month, he said, TRC passengers train services will reach Arusha from Dar es Salaam as a small portion of railway (between Moshi and Arusha) remains to be put in decent order.
He called on Tanzanians and other residents to make sure they have identity cards, specifically National ID ones (at least the number accompanied by another ID), as it is necessary in transportation business to identify well the passengers.
He said it is an international requirement so Tanzanians should try to learn and adjust as quickly as practicable.