Almost 50 cases of vandalism per month at Metrorail

2017-01-23 20:16
A Metrorail train comes to a standstill before reaching Cape Town station. (Image: Adiel Ismail)

A Metrorail train comes to a standstill before reaching Cape Town station. (Image: Adiel Ismail)

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Cape Town - Metrorail in the Western Cape has around 47 incidents of vandalism a month, or four to five a day, the company said on Monday as complaints over delays continue.

“The primary reasons for delays are old and obsolete technology as a result of decades of disinvestment in rail, and perpetual vandalism,” spokesperson Riana Scott said.

This meant the company struggled to have enough trains available to meet demand. Commuters complained that the delays affected their livelihoods.

One News24 reader said he had seen a train driver get out of a train and try to fix a mechanical problem himself.

Scott said that at present, the company was running a total of 70 train sets out of its minimum requirement of 84.

“The continuous theft/vandalism of assets, mainly cables and other metal-bearing components results in services being unreliable and not meeting customer expectations,” she explained.

Maintenance was being done continually, as needed, instead of cyclically. Big repairs and refurbishments were sent to external contractors who took weeks, months, or years to finish the job because rail components were not off-the-shelf items.

She said arson cost the company hundreds of millions of rands, and cable theft and vandalism hundreds of thousands of rands.

The company currently operated 669 train trips every weekday; serving 121 stations on a 489km network that crossed six municipalities.  

If there was a problem with any one of those trips, the assessment and recovery time was unique, so it was difficult to say earlier which services would be affected during peak times.

Delays of increasingly shorter duration were recorded as repair work progressed.

Steps taken to keep criminals out of critical areas include the introduction of CCTV surveillance at 16 stations, and collaboration with the city's “Copperheads” anti-cable theft unit.

Metrorail was piloting camera surveillance on a 2km stretch between Netreg and Bonteheuwel.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  cape town

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