By Staff Reporter
THE newly reintroduced urban commuter trains have been suspended following the return to a stricter Covid-19 lockdown.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) suspended the affordable commuter trains last Friday insisting it was in line with the new Covid-19 regulations pronounced by Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga early this month.
The NRZ said the decision followed the realisation that some commuters were taking advantage of the trains to evade police road blocks since trains have no police checkpoints.
NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika Wednesday said the parastatal will be guided by the government depending on the developments on the ground.
“We suspended the commuter trains in line with lockdown measures recently announced by Vice President Constantine Chiwenga who is also the health minister,’’ he said.
Maravanyika added NRZ felt it cannot contribute to the spread of the pandemic when other transporters like Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) are implementing measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 by maintaining social distances in their buses.
Some residents in Bulawayo claimed the trains were suspended as the public was taking advantage of them to travel into the city centre without valid movement papers as the police were not conducting any searches in them.
The government has announced public gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people for funerals while other occasions such as weddings, churches banned. Bars, bottle stores, gymnasium, and restaurants are also closed for 30 days. Both formal and non-formal businesses are also affected by the new restrictions.
Essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies, and supermarkets, with only essential staff are allowed to open from 8 am to 3 pm while and dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed.