ADDIS ABABA (HAN) September 23.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By Fitsum Getachew. The Addis Light Rail Transit is a year old. Fortunately, you can find a train every ten or even less minutes. The problem however is that at certain hours there is no manner of having the train not congested with people to capacity and if you have a hand bag, it becomes even more difficult to travel. I think there must also be some form of limit to the capacity of the train because I have seen that the doors continue to open and people being anxious to travel, push in with all their force and may hurt you squeezing too much. The authorities must have some means of arranging for that.
All doors are used to carry out both services and this may at times become a challenge. People are anxious to get on to the train and they would not allow those who want to alight, and here I sense that there must be some intervention on the part of the rail authorities.
As far as who is driving the trains now, we see that Ethiopians have been well trained and are now in command of the trains and the Chinese have been replaced, but the way the tickets are sold and who pays and who doesn’t is still not completely addressed because I have not seen checks or control for the tickets on the trains. May be access must be denied for all those who do not exhibit the tickets before embarking on the trains. In the West, I have seen that the doors open only if the ticket is introduced into a booth and the block opens. No one can travel for free.
Another issue that may be better addressed is where the tickets are sold and how accessible they are especially for those who habitually use the trains. For instance, there must be some sort of subscription so that one can have a monthly ticket or a ticket that can be used at any time and I think this could be a solution for the lines that at times are made and clients are stressed waiting for the tickets or the change.
It is only one year since this facility has been introduced and for the moment we can only talk well about it. But as the saying goes, ‘the more you eat, the more the appetite comes’ and Addis residents would like to have more trains and better administration of the ticketing and availability of trains in terms of the number.
In the meantime, it must be noted that the Addis Light Rail Transit has not had any significant accidents and people are familiarizing themselves with the wagons and the consciousness about its usage has increased.
Hopefully there will not be any accidents in the future as well, especially when it comes to crossing the rails at certain congested areas. The modern way of life dictates that we should co-habit with trains crossing from all corners and not only vehicles, and if we are careful we can avoid grave accidents.
The train has one special positive thing that other means of transport do not have and that is it is environment friendly without any pollution and it does not have any sound pollution as well.
The Light Rail Transit hence has its remarkable contribution to the development of the country because it facilitates things. It is even a tourist attraction because tourists can easily access it and there is no need to ask orientation as it is all written and heard in English as well. No confusion is made if one has the right address of where to go.
With other similar facility in the pipe line, the future of city transport in Addis seems promising.
With new buses introduced and others to come yet, the new taxi cabs availed, the tension in the transport sector is bound to ease, especially now that schools are due to open shortly and transportation of students becomes a key issue for families.