Tanzanians against train fare increases

A request by Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) to increase train fares by 50 per cent for third class and 25 per cent for first and second classes has been rejected by stakeholders and members of the public at a meeting held in Dar es Salaam by the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra).

TRL was told by stakeholders and passengers' rights organisations that it should concentrate on improving its poor, unreliable service before thinking about raising fares.

Sumatra said that it too was against the increases, particularly as fares contributed only 14 per cent of the annual revenue of TRL, which is 100 per cent-owned by the Tanzanian government.

The loss-making railway company defended its proposed fare increases by stating that fuel prices had risen since the last price review in 2009. In addition it blamed the negative impact of fuel levies on railways and the fluctuation of the Tanzanian shilling against foreign currencies.

After TRL states its case at public meetings from 10 May until 1 June in Tabora, Mpanda and Kigoma, Sumatra will consider public recommendations before making its ultimate decision over whether or not to sanction the fare increases.