Commuters to march over poor transport

2011-04-01 07:14

Commuters are to protest next week over the quality and safety of Gauteng’s transport system, the Concerned Commuters Organisation of SA (Cocosa) said yesterday.

Cocosa spokesman Bongani Ntuli said thousands of members were expected to march on the offices of the Gauteng transport department on April 6.

“Our lives are in danger because most of the trains and coaches that we travel in every day are old and date as far back as 1958, the 1960s and 1985.”

He said in a statement that people were told no money was available for new trains, yet more than R25 million was spent on the Gautrain “which the working class cannot afford”.

The problems commuters were experiencing included the collapse of the passenger rail system, train delays, a lack of communication and consultation with customers, and poor maintenance of infrastructure.

Also there were delays caused by technical faults, shortage of trains, increased ticket prices without consulting consumers and poor safety standards.

“On a daily basis, commuters risk their lives in overcrowded and dangerous Prasa/Metrorail trains which are crime ridden.”

He said commuters were punished for arriving late at school and work when trains and coaches arrived late or failed to do so at all without notification.

Cocosa demanded the transfer of passenger rail back to Transnet as a state-owned company.

“There must be an immediate meeting between Cocosa and the Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Ndebele, to start a process of re-instating passenger rail back to Transnet.”

They also demand new rolling stock and want the toll gate system not to be implemented because it would hike up transport fares.

“The present situation where the commuter rail system is managed by Prasa/Metrorail, a privately owned company, is fundamentally in conflict with the ideas and values of a sustainable, affordable and accessible public transportation system.”

Privatisation of the management of the commuter rail transportation led to a decline in the quality of services of the rail system, which was a risk to both the safety and health of commuters, Ntuli said.

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