The discontinuing of visa requirements for Zimbabweans visiting South Africa has resulted in a significant drop in business for Bulawayo-Botswana trains, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) public relations manager Fanuel Masikati told the Bulawayo Chronicle. Many Zimbabwean shoppers decided to shift their business to South Africa. He said the train remains operational but business is “subdued.” At its peak the train carried at least 300 passengers per week, including travellers from as far as Harare.
According to Masikati, many people who have been travelling into Botswana have switched to the Bulawayo-Beitbridge service for their cross-border shopping, which now takes place in South Africa. The recent adoption of multiple currencies (which has filled Zimbabwe supermarkets with basic commodities that were in short supply) is another reason for the decline in the number of people using the train to Gaberone.