Train station in need of a fix

2016-07-05 06:00
Sharedon Park Neighbourhood Watch says upgrades for Steenberg train station are long overdue, but their calls for help go unanswered.        PHOTOs: TIYESE JERANJI

Sharedon Park Neighbourhood Watch says upgrades for Steenberg train station are long overdue, but their calls for help go unanswered. PHOTOs: TIYESE JERANJI

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Steenberg train station has become an eyesore for train commuters and passersby because of its worn-out facilities, locals say.

Sharedon Neighbourhood Watch says for years they have been trying to get the station upgraded, with no luck.

They say fencing has rusted and has been removed from some sections of the station – allowing easy access to anyone – and the paving at the station is uneven which can lead to commuters falling.

Eric Bailey from Sharedon Neighbourhood Watch says this is “just an accident waiting to happen”.

“People cross anywhere they want. Some even cross as the train is approaching, which is a great risk. The fact that there is no fencing places commuters at risk because they are robbed and the criminals run into the bushes and disappear. We want change.”

Bailey says it seems the commuters of Sharedon Park and surrounding areas have had to bear the frustration of a seemingly eternal wait for an upgrade by Prasa to take place at Steenberg station.

“It would seem the desperate cries of the community have been long forgotten as the condition of the station remains a painful eyesore to the public,” says Bailey.

Many of the railway stations along the line have been “beautifully upgraded” while, sadly, Steenberg station – a very busy station – seems to have been overlooked, adds Bailey.

Steenberg station is one of the busiest stations and with time everything seems to be deteriorating due to wear and tear, Bailey says.

He beleives something needs to be done as a matter of urgency.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done. It’s a pity that the people who must upgrade these stations don’t use them, but we have to suffer like this. People get robbed. The toilets are always locked, forcing people to urinate on the walls of the shades. As a result, the shades can’t be used because they smell of pee and there is so much dirt,” he says.

With no public announcement system Bailey says it is really difficult for commuters to know what’s going on.

“You don’t know when the next train is there or if there are delays. Even if you ask in the office it seems the people there are too tired to help or just don’t care. At the end of the day it’s a guessing game. We need better,” he says.

Refering to the accident at White Road crossing in Retreat on Wednesday 22 June, in which a teenager died and another was left with severe head injuries after being hit by a train, he says the boom needs to be changed.

“The boom crossing is frequently not working, leaving motorists in a confused state as to whether they should proceed or not. The boom also closes a bit late which puts motorists at risk.

“Look at what happened in Retreat. We lost a child because of people who don’t want to do their job. The booms need to work efficiently to avoid accidents but it’s not the case. They keep hiking the fares, but we just don’t see where that money goes,” concludes Bailey.

Riana Scott, Metrorail spokesperson, says pertaining to safety and security Steenberg Station is guarded 24/7 by two guards per shift as well as Metrorail Protection Service Officials.

“Their duties comprise the protection of commuters, employees and assets and to be effective they focus on the immediate environs and operations of the station; and resources are allocated strategically on a similar basis as general policing,” she says.

Resources are posted according to predetermined priority areas, Scott explains.

“Metrorail’s regional static, mobile and/or undercover resources are allocated according to priorities determined at joint weekly meetings between Metrorail Protection Services and the police. Proactive deployment of security resources is based on security intelligence; reactive measures in response to reported incidents.”

There was no response from their office about upgrades of the station raised by the commuters.

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