KAMPALA- At about 9:15am yesterday, a crowd had formed inside the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) compound in Kampala to witness a train test run that would mark one more step in efforts to establish passenger train services in the city.
“This is the beginning of decongesting the city,” Ms Jennifer Musisi, the executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority, said at the event.
Ms Musisi estimated that while train transport will be used by more than 10,000 people a day, the suspended Pioneer Bus shuttles will resume operations soon and KCCA has received proposals from transport operating companies to ship in more than 300 buses in the city.
The test run started from RVR office in Kampala, made stops in Bugolobi, Kireka and finally in Namanve covering that distance in approximately 58 minutes.
The train services are expected to commence in March, three months later than the date set in an earlier KCCA communication.
Ms Musisi explained that government had signed a pact with RVR allowing only cargo transport which meant the agreement had to be amended.
Mr Stephen Wakasenza, an official with RVR, said the 600-seater train will run from Namanve station at 7:30am. and close business at 5:30pm. Along the way, the train will make stops in Kireka, Nakawa, Namboole and finally in Kampala. Each passenger will part with Shs1,700 for each route.
Ms Betty Nabunya, one of the few passengers on the train yesterday, said reviving railway transport will help tame high transports fares charged by commuter taxis.
The other routes expected in the near future include from Nalukolongo station to Wankulukuku leading to Kampala and the Port Bell-Kampala line.