Thursday, April 11, 2013

Transport ministry seeks money to expand Dar city commuter train service

THE Minister for Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe has pledged to expand the Dar es Salaam city commuter train service project in areas which are linked to railway lines within the city for 2013/14 fiscal year. It has been learnt. The Minister made the pledge last week in Dar es Salaam after he had opened a one day’s forum for the Aeronautical Meteorology Stakeholders’ consultative meeting which was organized by Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), in honour of the commemoration of the World Meteorological Day which officially is being celebrated today worldwide. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Dr. Mwakyembe said that, since the launch of the city train services in Dar es Salaam city, his ministry has realized a great potential for the commuters who are in dire need of the service, hence he has promised to expand the service during the 2013/14 financial year. He noted that, an extension service line from railway station to Pugu station past Gongo la Mboto will be the area to be given priority as the government is still looking for money to buy passengers’ coaches and engines to run the operation. However, he couldn’t mention how much is needed when asked but insisted that, the government is even ready to accept investors to come and help run the project on the agreed terms and conditions of contract that it would enter. “We have started well and are progressing well and so our goal is to reach the target and even beyond” he said and added that, more investments in some other parts on the city’s outskirts is needed. However, he metioned such area as From Ubungo-Maziwa to Boko and Tegeta, then from Kimara to Bunju and up to Kibaha.
A train leaves from Mwanza city

Also he mentioned other areas that needs urgent investments includes From Kurasini to Mbagala and beyond.  In October last year, Dr. Mwakyembe made Dar es Salaam history as the first city in East and Central Africa to operate commuter train services. He had promised the city’s citizens commuter trains amid great skepticism from some quarters and outright sabotage of the idea.  Dar residents witnessed ‘dream come true’ as the first commuter train rolled off the stage at Ubungo Maziwa station chugging through industrial and residential areas to offload its first batch of passengers at the Central Railway station. On board was Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe who launched the service, promising to address any the hitches likely to crop up as the services picked up with the fare from Ubungo Maziwa to Station is 400/- for adults and 100/- for school children. Speaking before the launching of the service, Dr Mwakyembe said the government plan was to see the train operating in the city in a bid to improve the service. Earlier the Director General, Tanzania Meteorological Agency, Dr. Agnes L. Kijazi highlighted the importance of the consultative meeting lies in the fact that people are interrelated and interdependent. The aviation industry cannot do without meteorological information. And likewise, meteorological services would be less important without the aviation industry. It is my hope that at the end of the day, all met stakeholders will have a better understanding of services provided by the TMA, the country's designated authority in the provision of meteorological services for air navigation. And TMA will also be in a better position to provide much more improved services. I am properly informed that our country is among the most active members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This meeting has come at an opportune time when Tanzania along with other 190 WMO member countries celebrate the World Meteorological Day tomorrow the 23rd of March, 2023.  In her opening remarks, the TMA Director General said and added that in celebrating the World Meteorological Day, with a theme, “Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property”, it also to pay special tribute to the World Weather Watch (WWW) programme which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

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