North Coast train service suspended indefinitely

2018-10-24 06:02

THE Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as well as Metrorail has continued with its suspension of train services in the North Coast. The suspension, which has lasted three weeks, has left commuters opting for alternative, more costly transport.

Train services in the province were suspended after commuters vandalised and burnt a train at uMlazi Station on Friday, September 22. Several employees were also assaulted, resulting in the stoppage.

An intervention by KZN provincial government ensured services were restored but, much to the dismay of the North Coast commuters, they were left out.

It has emerged that the reason for the stoppage for the KwaDukuza to Durban route is that the railway lines are not safe and the infrastructure is outdated.

KwaDukuza commuters have had to dig deep into their pockets for alternative transport and some are finding it hard to keep up with expenses.

A commuter who did not want to be named said he has a monthly ticket and is not sure if Metrorail will compensate him.

“I stay in Ntshawini and work in Ballito, I find it hard to adjust to the taxi fare as I was using a monthly ticket, which is less than R300. Even though they [the trains] are not always on time, they are cost effective,” he said.

Nhlaka Chili, who travels from Ashville to Tongaat every day, said: “It’s unthinkable that I have to pay R100 a day whilst a train ticket to Durban is just R230 and a daily return ticket is only R24.”

When the Stanger Weekly contacted PRASA provincial spokesperson Zama Nomganga, he said that they are aware of the plight of the KwaDukuza people but, due to safety concerns, services in the North Coast remain suspended.

“As PRASA we took a decision to stop the service as the lines are unsafe and Transnet is currently fixing them and are working around the clock to ensure that service returns. Trains often stop unexpectedly causing people to arrive late so we assure the people of Stanger things will be back to normal but we need assurance from the public on the safety of our drivers. We are deeply concerned about the safety of our passengers as well,” said Nomganga.

However Nomganga indicated that train services may return as early as Friday once they get assurance from Transnet.

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