#BusStrike: Metrorail train services resume, as bus driver talks continue

2018-04-20 13:09
Metrorail train. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Metrorail train. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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The power failure which halted Metrorail's Cape Town train services during the national bus strike on Friday morning has been fixed, spokesperson Riana Scott said.

"Signal power has been restored," said Scott, after Cape Town’s trains were stopped in their tracks at 04:00.

Scott said Metrorail Cape Town is hoping to have all services running from 15:00 or 15:30 for the evening commute.

The power collapse put the entire central train control system in the area on hold and in many instances, passengers were already on board.

Technical teams scrambled to detect the cause and start repairs.

A limited, but severely delayed service crept along through the rerouting and shuttling of commuters along small sections of the line that technicians got up and running.

Severe delays

Metrorail regulars and people who were using the trains during the bus strike were severely delayed.

At least 220 000 people per week day use the city's Golden Arrow Bus Services, according to its website. MyCiTi ferries around 70 000 people a day so far on its network, it said in previous statements.

LISTEN: 'We are going to burn you,' angry commuters tell Metrorail train driver

Metrorail already struggles to keep services running due to rampant theft and vandalism along its lines, and attacks on train drivers and staff.

In January, former acting Passenger Rail Agency of SA CEO Cromet Molepo said during a tour of the Bonteheuwel split in Cape Town, that the company loses the use of 80 coaches a month to vandalism or theft. A split is an area where trains change lines.

In the meantime, two of the five unions which represent bus drivers on a national strike over pay and working conditions, told News24 that urgent talks to end the strike continued at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Friday.

"The pressure is on for us to find each other, [and] the public is under a lot of pressure", said National Union of Metalworkers of SA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi.

#BusStrike: 10 things you need to know

As the mediated negotiations continue, SA Transport and Allied Workers Union spokesperson Zanele Sabela said: "We are crossing fingers, all of us."

Sabela explained that, even if an acceptable proposal was made in the CCMA talks on Friday, it did not mean the drivers would go straight to their buses to start working.

However, she said last year, after an agreement was signed on Good Friday, that by the Saturday some drivers were back. By the Monday, normal service had resumed and all drivers were behind the wheel again.

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Read more on:    metrorail  |  cape town  |  public transport  |  transport

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