Train commuters to be guaranteed safety

2018-05-31 06:00

The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), and the Western Cape Government have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which will see the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure­.

The cost to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months is approximately R47.9m.

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

Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron, says the unit will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets: “The unit’s members will rely on technology and crime intelligence, and will support the South African Police Service 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.”

Metrorail Western Cape regional manager Richard Walker says he is pleased to see this initiative come to fruition after years of discussion: “This initiative will support and assist in expediting our Prasa plans to professionalise and transform our own Protection Services Department to a more effective, better skilled and equipped transit-oriented unit to combat crime.

“The unit will have a two-pronged focus – primarily to deal with the vandalism, theft and illegal trade of non-ferrous metal and copper, and secondly to increase visible policing on trains and stations for improved commuter safety.”

According to provincial transport MEC Donald Grant says addressing security as an urgent priority will go a long way towards achieving this: “The present and future commuters of Cape Town and this region deserve a functional and effective rail service that fulfils its potential.”

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