Train fares favour poor: Prasa

2012-03-27 16:24

Johannesburg - Train fares are skewed in favour of rail commuters and poor communities, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said on Tuesday.

Last week, Prasa said it would increase Metrorail fares as early as next month by an average of 27%. This prompted complaints from Cosatu in the Western Cape.

"Train fares remain by far the lowest prices in comparison to any other form of transport in the country, with a single trip costing on average R2.84," Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said on Tuesday.

"Alternatively, an adult ticket costs R5 per trip, which is far below what people spend on airtime or other non-essentials on any given day," he said.

Less than half of Prasa's rail operating budget of R7.6bn was subsidised by the government, Montana said.

Prasa's proposed train fare increases would generate R323m for Metrorail and R79m for Shosholoza Meyl. The increases would help to continue delivering quality services and promoting public transport over private cars.

Prasa had to recover its running costs to pay for energy, maintenance, material, salaries, and rates and taxes for its stations.

It had consulted commuter structures and stakeholders, including Cosatu in the Western Cape, Montana said.

The bulk of discounts would go to monthly commuters, he said.

Base price uneconomically low

Single trips from Ndabeni or Claremont to Cape Town, which cost R5, would increase to R6.

In the same zone, weekly ticket prices would increase from R30 to R39, an increase of R0.64 cents a trip.

Monthly tickets would go up from R90 to R117, or an extra 45 cents a trip.

Metro weekly ticket holders had to pay for only 6.5 out of 14 trips, and Metro Plus ticket holders for eight out of 14 trips.

Monthly ticket holders were able to travel for the entire month, but had to pay for only three weeks' worth of trips.

Although an average increase of 27% sounded high, in real terms it amounted to an increase of between 50 cents and R1, Prasa said.

The base price remained uneconomically low, posing a risk of running down the rail assets, Montana said.

Prasa would invest R25.9bn in the next three years to modernise the rail network.

"These are interventions that will ensure South Africa has in place the first elements of a modern commuter rail from 2014/15," he said.

On Thursday, Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the increase would "devastate" commuters.

"Cosatu cannot accept this as it would have a devastating impact on commuters, many of whom already live on the breadline. Cosatu has called for a detailed process of engagement to explore alternatives to this huge increase," he said.

  • Mark - 2012-03-27 16:37

    "On Thursday, Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the increase would "devastate" commuters." Yes Tony, the government you serve and worship with such zeal, has slurped up all discretionary income from the Working Man and still wants more. Why do you still support them. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

      Oscar - 2012-03-27 21:43

      I once saw this bumper sticker " the poor" and thought it was in bad taste but now that every thing is done to benefit the poor at the expense of the middle class who is suffering more and more with every incompetent ANC decision, I am beginning to think that maybe the bumper sticker wasn't that far off.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-27 16:45

    Its about metrorail had to do something about its loses that were being covered by our taxes...

  • Vus'umuzi - 2012-03-27 17:00

    I have firsthand experience as a train commuter.the service is very bad!!! I am not hopeful AT ALL that the fare hike will alter the current train services for the commuters.

  • Lynn - 2012-03-27 17:14

    Ok, Metrorail can go ahead and raise their fares on condition that ALL managers and above use the train "service" every day ... See service levels change !!

  • Gregory - 2012-03-27 17:17

    How does a fare increase benefit the poor.

      Timothy - 2012-04-02 08:48

      I would like to know how does this increase help the poor.prasa getting richer and the poor stay poor then we the people paying the money and suffer now with the increase many people not gana buy train tickets due to the bad service by prasa tains being late windows and doors damage over crowded trains that's the way the poor will suffer while u get ur meal ticket every month I now hope with this increse trains wound be delayed and ur ticket checkers do there work course its not fair to buy a monthly ticket and other people dont

  • Hermann - 2012-03-27 17:22

    Economics according to PRASA ;- 2+2= minus 1

  • Saleena Daniels - 2012-03-27 18:05

    Struggling to understand how a fare increase favors the poor of they pay more?? After the previous massive price hike, train services have gone from bad to worse so where exactly is all the money going???

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-27 21:40

    If they make R1 profit then this government department is making too much. You cannot justify an increase in a fare based on a telecommunication tariff. They are not the same thing, nor should they be. The logic is non-existent.

  • Rashida - 2012-03-28 07:51


  • an0nthinker - 2012-03-28 08:12

    Oh please Cosatu! Don't be such pr!cks. Maybe if the commuters didn't vandilise railway tracks, destroy trains and injure people, this hike could've been stalled. What makes you so special that you think commuters can escape the increase in prices of electricity, wages and basic service? Wake up and smell the corrupt government who increase the cost of everything when someone needs a new car or house.

  • Carmenthia - 2012-04-04 14:29

    A R50 increase is much to high from Randfontein to Johannesburg the trains is running like crap the windows of some trains is out its almost winter we have to sit in the cold but we almost pay R200 for a monthly and the trains is never on time we are always late at work and at home

  • pages:
  • 1