Safety on the railway takes centre stage

2018-06-07 06:02

Train commuters’ safety has been partially ensured thanks to an agreement between various authorities.

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The details about how the dedicated enforcement unit will be funded, established and managed are addressed in the MOA, between Prasa, the City and the provincial transport and public works department.

The MOA follows a commitment made during the Rail Summit convened and attended by officials of the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA), the Department of Transport and Public Works and Prasa, as well as rail experts and business leaders in Woodstock in February.

The cost, to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months, is approximately R47,9 million and will be jointly funded by the TDA, the provincial government and Prasa.

It is foreseen that the unit will be operational within the next two to three months.

“The unit will [comprise] at least 100 members and will focus on commuter safety, as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets,” said Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee member for Transport and Urban Development.

“The unit’s members will rely on technology and crime intelligence, and will support the police to identify those who are involved in the illicit metals theft industry. The ultimate goal is to address the safety and security issues so that we can stabilise the urban rail service in the short term.”

The City will be responsible for the appointment and training of the law enforcement officers.

“Prasa is confident that rail commuters will benefit from an increased focus on safety,” said acting Prasa group executive, Lindikaya Zide.

Richard Walker, regional manager for Metrorail, is pleased the initiative is coming to fruition after years of discussion. “At the summit in February, it was apparent that stakeholder collaboration and resource integration is a more effective way of tackling issues that impact all modes of public transport.”

Metrorail will designate 50 members of its current Protection Services Unit to be trained as peace officers and traffic wardens, and in tactical street survival.

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