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The Metrorail Watchdog
Comments: 7
Article views: 1223

Cape Town Trains is Metrorail's eToll

26 March 2014, 14:14
It is no secret that trains into and out of Cape Town has been delayed so much, one don’t even get frustrated no more.

What gets to me is that even though Mthuthuzeli Swartz, Regional Manager, say the frustrations are valid and he understand it – I fail to believe he truly understand.
You can only understand the frustration of a commuter if you:
• Have been waiting for two hours on a station, some in the rain and others in a train.
• Arrive late at work and you have to please explain to your manager who will probably believe you once or twice but by the fourth time, you will be signing your warning. 
• Arrive home two/three hours after you were suppose to and you had to arrange with someone to pick up your kids because trains are delayed and now you have to go cook.
• Don’t get to spend time with your family cause you got home late and you so tired you just want to wash and sleep. 
See RM that is why I doubt that you understand commuter frustrations.
The other thing that upset me is that since the whole delay due to infrastructure started, not once did senior management of Metrorail and Prasa take a train in peak time to truly feel what commuters have to endure, instead they say they have compassion and understand commuter frustrations. 

What I think of Metrorail's Interventions
Swartz on Tuesday March 25th, 2014 announced safety critical interventions to stabilise rail service. First thing I noticed is that the announcement contained no time-frames and deadlines, Swartz said it would be implemented over the next four months.
Metrorail’s immediate actions include of track circuits and use of suitable technology, as well as the overhaul of track transformers.
The building of another closer-by station for those in the Wallacedene area in Kraaifontein has been added to the planning and a few stations will be completely upgraded.
I agree with Swartz that the root of this problem goes back to the 1980’s, as well as a policy of disinvestment – but was none of the managers bold enough to say 30 or 20 years ago this is our problem and needs to be addressed soon.
The actual good news was when Swartz said that a second train to Worcester is being negotiated. Commuters making use of this line have been asking this for a long time now and I share in their joy. The other good news was that plans are also afoot to use spare Shosholoza Meyl trains to alleviate capacity constrains. Now someone who understands commuter frustration would know, this is what commuters want to hear.
Metrorail’s sms system will also be resuscitated. Now the service had a slow death because it was useless, wait that is to harsh – it was not effective. Who says it will be now as @CapeTownTrains on Twitter only update every 20 to 30 minutes and a reply from them is not efficient. Commuters are encouraged to use the GoMetro mobi-site. I use the site and it can be good, if it is updated more regularly. There are days that delays don’t even feature.
I've told the RM before, he has good communication resources – it is just not use effective.
And why have a Twitter account if it signs off at 19:00, and trains are delayed. If you serious about making communication better, have a better communication policy with extended hours.
Read: Critical interventions
This is reckless commuter behaviour and can only be addressed by collaborative effort between us and the police was Swartz response to the image.

What is my point? 
• Metrorail didn't get a Christmas card telling them that we have old infrastructure, etc. so why did Metrorail WC wait until a train derailed and damaged tracks leading to the closure of platforms at Cape Town?
• Why can no one take responsibility? 
• Why did Prasa wait (on the minister to listen to commuters) before more than R233million was made available for urgent intervention?
• Is it safe to say a certain manager did not do his/her work to report that tracks need urgent upgrades?
• Why can’t Metrorail/Prasa admit that they have failed to deliver an effective reliable rail service to commuters?
If you admit that you have failed then you can make a promise to better, but now you make more promises and commuters, well doubt if you can deliver on them.
Scary part of this whole fiasco is that ticket prices will increase, as soon as the four months is over.
The annual ticket price increase with no improvement in the service is probably the eTolls of those using Cape Town trains. 
Because we pay for
• delayed service, 
• losing quality time with our families, 
• Signing warnings at work and 
• Metrorail and Prasa management to enjoy increases.

Prasa and Metrorail’s management should do the honourable thing and reject a pay hike until an effective and reliable rail service can be offered and to compensate commuters (for having to deal with this 40 year old issue that no one wants to take ownership of). Why can’t those with lets say March monthlies not buy new ones and use them in April – this is one of those dreams of mine that I should just give up on.

The past week, Western Cape Transport and Public Works minister, Robin Carlisle says Metrorail is a disaster waiting to happen – I disagree with the honourable MEC and should show him this piece to inform him that the disaster already happened and I pray it’s not to late to change course or even driver.
Metrorail a disaster waiting to happen

A Blog by Earl September

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