A pilot project for reintroduction of passenger services under Uganda Railways Corporation is showing positive results.
The number of passengers boarding the train from Namanve has steadily increased over the eight months of operation.
Uganda Railways Corporation Managing Director, Dr. Charles Kateeba says barely fifty passengers would board the train when it was early this year. He says passenger volumes have increase to an average of 1500 person per day.
He says there have been days when some passengers are left when the coaches are fully packed.
Uganda Railways runs the passenger service twice daily from Kampala Railway station to Namanve. It has stopovers at Namboole , Kireka and Makerere University Business School.
The passenger services were revamped in December 2015 under a partnership among Uganda Railways Corporation (URC), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and Rift Valley Railways (RVR) as part of the efforts to ease transportation in the city.
Uganda Railways Corporation was paid one billion shilling for the one year pilot phase expected to end this November. Kampala to Namanve passengers pay one thousand five hundred shillings fare while those stopping at Namboole pay one thousand shillings for a single route journey.
Some passengers opt to use the train because of it is reliable during peak hours when traffic is higher in the city.
David Namuniasi a passenger found at the Namanve platform said he find the train much safer compared to boda boda and that its ability to beat the early morning and late evening traffic was a plus for him.
There have been fears that the passenger service will close when the KCCA/ Rift Valley Railways and Uganda Railways Corporation pilot ends this November.
But Dr. Charles Kateeba says there are plans to have it extended. He says the Corporation is exploring on other options aimed at attracting more passengers. One of the options under consideration is the inclusion of the first or second class coaches.
Uganda Railways Corporation in the early eighties operated similar services then known as Kayola train service. It had one of the routes through Kibuye, Nalukolongo, Busega to Bujuko railway platform on Kasese line. The second route was from Kampala Railway station to Seeta sub station on Kampala-Jinja Tororo railway line.