By Susan Mateko
THE loss-making National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has embarked on a $6 billion programme to replace obsolete ticket machines with state-of-the-art equipment imported from the United Kingdom
, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The portable Almex Micro 3 and Almex A90 machines were sourced from Britain late last year and were delivered in the country earlier this year.
The Almex Micro 3 machines, which are fitted with a rechargeable battery, will be used by mobile conductors while the Almex A90 will be used by ticket-issuing staff at major stations throughout the country.
The ticket office A90 type machines are powered by electricity.
NRZ corporate and public affairs manager, Misheck Matanhire, this week confirmed the acquisition of the machines which he said were a replacement of the outdated ticket machines that were purchased in 1978.
“The new machines were acquired at a cost of £229 000, although there are some ancillary equipment such as the modems and computers which were also acquired at a cost of $250 million for the same project.
“The new system was recently tested between Bulawayo and Harare and has produced satisfactory results,” Matanhire said in a statement.
Matanhire said the machines would enhance revenue collection system since they were fitted with tight audit control features.
“These machines, which are designed for use in today’s changing public transport industry, will immensely benefit the travelling public, as well as the NRZ, because they are simple to use and should bring to an end the long queues that have been experienced at railway stations,” Matanhire said.
He said the machines are capable of producing highly detailed tickets that are easily understood by staff and customers.
In another development, the NRZ says it has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate all its coaches that have been vandalised.
“The NRZ has embarked on a programme to upholster all its coaches which have been vandalised by saboteurs.
Zimbabweans can certainly look forward to a new passenger train service to be offered by the NRZ,” Matanhire said.