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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Mwakyembe pledges to tackle challenges in railway transport

14th June 2012
Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe talks with journalists moments after arriving at Dodoma railway station from Dar es Salaam yesterday. He is in Dodoma to attend National Assemblly sessions. (Photo: Khalfan Said)

Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has promised to work on the challenges facing train passengers, including fares and charging of baggage which exceeds 20 kilogrammes.

Dr Mwakyembe made the pledge yesterday at Dodoma railway station shortly after his arrival from Dar es Salaam by train.

He said his trip had helped him discover many things which he was not aware of and problems facing wananchi who use the train as the main means of transport.

He said while on the train he got the opportunity to go through the coaches and discovered that most of them were in a dilapidated state.

“We have started rehabilitation work and I hope that after some years the situation will be improved because currently one cannot differentiate first class from third class coaches because they are all old,” he said.

He however said he would look into the possibility of changing the current system whereby a three-and-half-year-old child pays half the adult’s fare and charging baggage weighing more than 20 kilogrammes.

“This means of transport is for ordinary people who travel with some luggage, thus it is unfair to specify the weight of luggage and charge those with extra weight. This system is used in air transport but not on trains which are used by the majority of people,” he said.

“We are working on the possibility of changing this system and we hope that we will get a solution to the issue,” he added.

Dr Mwakyembe however demanded to get the names of Tanzania Railway Limited workers who charge passengers different fares from those indicated on tickets so he can hold them accountable.

He also directed the reporting of TRL staff who have been charging passengers 29,000/- and writing 9000/- on the ticket.

“I have already directed that the person should be reported and we are going to sack him,” said Dr Mwakyembe, who was appointed Transport minister in the recent cabinet reshuffle.

The minister, who was received at Dodoma railway station by his deputy, Dr Charles Tizeba, promised to convince other members of parliament to travel by train so they could see for themselves the real situation.

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