Dar es Salaam launches first commuter trains

The inaugural commuter train service in Dar es Salaam has been launched as part of the first phase of a government scheme to improve the city's transport network and to decrease its congested streets.

The trains will operate during peak hours in the morning and evening, but not on Sundays. There are two routes, one operated by Tanzanian Rail Limited (TRL) and the other by Tazara Railways, which already manages a major line linking Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi in neighbouring Zambia.

There will be six trips on the Tazara line – three between 05.00 and 11.00, and three between 15.00 and 20.00, with one-way tickets costing Sh500. The trains run between Kwa Fundi Umeme and Kurasini.

Eight trips are scheduled for the TRL line between Ubungo-Maziwa and City railways stations, four between 05.00 and 11.00, and four between 15.00 and 20.00, with one-way tickets costing Sh400 (about $0.25).

The new train tickets are cheaper than the fares charged by the private daladala minibuses – the city's main mode of transport – where tickets range from between 500 shillings and 1,000 shillings.

Inaugurating the new service, Tanzania's transport minister Harrison Mwakyembe said Sh6 billion had been spent renovating train carriages and railway infrastructure for the TRL line while about Sh800 million was spent repairing the Tazara tracks.