Mbako Tapela Mahube of Mahube Express said for him it was business as usual despite the reintroduction of the passenger train. “It won’t affect us that much. The passenger train was here before. It was absent for only few years and its return won’t affect our business significantly,” he said casually.
He continued; “The time schedules are different and so are the passengers. If you want to sleep and wake up in Francistown the following morning you take the train but if you want to travel during the day you take the bus. In that regard, the train and bus services complement each other.”
Dorothy Sebina, Admin Manager at Seabelo’s Express was equally dismissive of the perceived threat.
She said that when Seabelo Express started operating, the passenger train was operational. “Considering all the years we’ve been in the business and the growth we have achieved, I doubt there is anything to worry about. Some passengers prefer buses and some prefer the train,” She said.
TJ Motlogelwa’s Managing Director was however cautious declaring; “It’s still premature to gauge the impact of the passenger train. Give it three to four weeks and I will tell you how it has affected our coffers. We are still observing the situation.”
Meanwhile Botswana Railways has expressed concern about the negative publicity caused by the break down of the train during its first journey.
“I don’t know why people are writing off the train when only one train trip was cancelled,” he said but admitted there had been other challenges affecting punctuality.
Yesterday Botswana Railways had a press conference in a bid to restore faith in the train following social media onslaught on how corruption had led to Botswana being sold an old train for P280 million