Zuma pleads with commuters: Don't burn new Metrorail trains

2017-05-09 16:02
New train. (SA Government via Twitter)

New train. (SA Government via Twitter)

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Pretoria - During the launch of the new Metrorail passenger trains, called the "People's Train" in Pretoria on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma urged all commuters to not vandalise trains.

"We have experienced shocking incidents in this country where people burn trains because they arrived late at the station and made them late for work. That is too drastic and is totally unacceptable," said Zuma outside the Pretoria station.

Zuma said acts of vandalism and serious crimes such as the burning of trains and cable theft undermined the efforts of improving the quality of life for all who use Metrorail services.

In 2016, a number of Metrorail passenger trains were vandalised and burnt in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

"As we hand over such infrastructure, we appeal to our people to handle it with care. These are your trains. Look after them so that they can carry you for many years to come."

Modernisation

The launch of the New Metro Commercialised Full Train Service forms part of a government's transport modernisation programme and massive infrastructure development that will cost R173bn according to Zuma.

Zuma said government is investing significant amounts of money to improve the way South Africans travel and that R51bn has been spent on new trains as well as R4bn on new hybrid locomotives.

The modernisation is expected to include the upgrading of depots, upgrading of signalling and overhead lines, railway tracks and platform correction.

As part of the programme, Prasa has already refurbished 291 Metrorail and 298 Shosholoza Meyl coaches, in addition, 27 stations have been upgraded nationally, said Zuma.

Twenty of the new Metrorail trains were built in Brazil and are fully operational, while a remainder of 580 trains will be built in Nigel on the East Rand, said Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi.

Maswanganyi claimed that the manufacturing of the trains and upgrading infrastructure would create at least 8 000 jobs.

He said is their target was to complete the 580 passenger trains by 2025, but that they would continue building trains as long as there was a demand.

Prasa currently has 585 train stations and a total fleet of 4 735 coaches, with an overall staff complement of 18 207, according to Zuma.

Zuma said the investment in this modernisation programme by government will ensure that we change the rail landscape of our country.

"The handing over of this world class train today, the People's Train, indicates that the days of having an uncomfortable, unreliable, and unsafe rail service must become a thing of the past," said Zuma.

Read more on:    prasa  |  jacob zuma  |  joe maswanganyi  |  pretoria  |  public transport

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