Train service not reliable

2018-10-16 06:02

I have used Metrorail Southern line many times in the past ’til recently as it was much less stressful than driving. The service is not reliable enough anymore to use for work and deteriorated to the extent that I gave up on it completely this year.

However, I decided to take the train at 07:30 on Friday 5 October from Simon’s Town to the CBD in order to substantiate the complaints from other professionals taking the train daily.

I bought a first class (Metro plus ticket) and the carriage was empty with only me and another young guy, but no security.

The journey is beautiful, especially along the coast and some of the beaches on the route are truly amazing, but carriages are invariably covered in graffiti and vandalism of slashed seats and dirty windows.

I never flash my phone, or dare take my tablet out of my special bag. I used to bring a book to read. I never allowed myself to be in an empty carriage, and have money in more than one place. I would advise commuters to be wide awake and travel in busy times.

The people I met and the friendliness of some Capetonians made the journey bearable.

Train stations are poorly signed and carriage windows are often opaque so that working out which station a train has stopped at requires extensive commuting experience. If you have poor or no eyesight, or are otherwise disabled, using the trains must be especially stressful.

When Metrorail makes an announcement at my usual station, it is through such a bad PA system, that the message is inaudible. Sometimes it is to announce that a train is cancelled or late, but the announcement is often so late itself, that it is pointless.

Carriage doors sometimes don’t close; more often they don’t open, leaving commuters frantically trying to work out how to disembark before the train pulls away. During the several hours of peak traffic a day, commuters are squashed together in overbearing heat.

Now and then trains stop in the middle of nowhere for long periods of time. No explanation is given. No estimate of the delay is provided, and the train became overcrowded very quickly as the commuters complained when they were asked to get off the train ahead of us as the under-carriage was burning.

The passengers complained about the conditions on the trains, lack of security, extreme heat in the overcrowded trains in summer and that they are always running late! They suggested panic buttons on trains and for guards to be present in every carriage.

Safety on the trains and in general should be priority especially for our daily commuters.

How many of you take the train and have seen the latest conditions and how many commuters are losing their jobs and endangering their lives every day taking the train?

Concerned Cape Town

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