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The Metrorail Watchdog
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Metrorail now Metrofail by real Ryan

18 March 2014, 13:30
Cape Town is the World Design Capital for 2014 and host of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but two days after the annual Cape Town carnival, hundreds were stranded and frustrated on platforms as trains were delayed by more than an hour.

Monday 17 March 2014 is why many commuters call Metrorail, Metrofail.The delay is due to a train that derailed on Saturday evening, leaving staff with a headache to fix. The chaos comes a week after Transport minister, Dipuo Peters took a train journey to engage with commuters and they shared their frustration of train delays with her.
Monday is probably a day Metrorail staff and commuters would not like to see be repeated, reality is that with our old infrastructure and stock, we will probably see much more delays before the new trains arrive, next year.Metrorail was unable to effectively communicate with commuters. Their GoMetro service as well as website only stated “Trains are delayed due to Infrastructure problems at Cape Town”, this was also tweeted by @CapeTownTrains. This might be okay if trains were delay for say 10 minutes, but more than an hour - a time frame should have been added from the start.
Two hours after asking Metrorail to add by how many minutes trains are delayed, they eventually tweeted “trains are delayed by 60+minutes”.I don’t really know what made matters worse, when Regional Manager, Mthuthuzeli Swartz tweeted “our woes have been made worse by the contractor at CT station who damaged signalling equipment” or the fact that no ticket verifier were on duty. Or wait the fact that no-one from senior management engaged with commuters on the platforms.
So what is my beef with Metrorail, well I don’t have any, I am like the many ordinary commuters, who took our frustration to social media and @CapeTownTrains will most probably ignore those tweets and service won’t be any better. 
Some of the tweets that caught my eye were:
  • “Metrofail!!..Metrofail!!..need I say more, no freakin back up plan.”
  • “Wow…#Metrofail was str8 from hell 2day…”
  • “once again #metrofail. What a way to start my week…”
  • “get to the station as fast as I can, to find out no trains”
The harsh reality is that Metrorail only “apologize for the inconvenience” and come June/July ticket prices will increase and thousands like me who depend on the rail service, will just have to fork out the extra rand.
We can’t say we paying for a better service or better trains as trains are vandalize and the service is, well the service is delayed. Except when a minister is on board, then it seems like a world class railway service.So what should be done?
Commuters can start by putting pressure on Metrorail and not just accept the “sorry for the inconvenience”. Commuters can also start by being more informed, like using the GoMetro-app.

And Metrorail, well they can start by implementing better, more proactive communication channels – one of them being all ground staff being well informed of what is going on and what is being done. The second thing Metrorail should start focusing on is contingency plans, as this lack and is in many cases only in action after someone made someone somewhere aware of an issue.
Fact is things won’t change overnight and no one will win, but the commuter is the client and the client is always right.
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