Urgent host rail summit to address 'failing' rail service

2017-12-15 22:36
Passengers forcing their way into a train while City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for urban development taking a Metrorail train ride on Thursday morning. (Supplied)

Passengers forcing their way into a train while City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for urban development taking a Metrorail train ride on Thursday morning. (Supplied)

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is to hold an urgent rail summit to address the "inhumane conditions" commuters are subjected to daily, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said on Thursday. 

In a statement, he said urgent intervention was needed to address the "failing" rail service. 

READ: Metrorail suspends all train services on Cape Town central line

Herron travelled by train on the line between Cape Town and Wellington, along with Cape Chamber of Commerce president Janine Myburgh on Thursday morning.

"At one of the stations I was nearly pushed through the open door as desperate men and women were trying to get onto the train while others were trying to get off," Herron said. 

"Commuting by train in Cape Town is stressful and degrading. You are exhausted once you reach your destination and then you still have to work an eight-hour day."

"Those making use of Metrorail literally have to fight their way in and out of the carriages every day."

Herron said he will engage with the National Government to seek necessary approvals and funding for taking over commuter rail in an incremental and structural manner.

In October, the City’s council adopted a plan to gradually take over the rail service. 

Herron also plans to take business leaders on a journey on Metrorail’s Central Line in January so that "they too can see what their employees face day after day". The line has been closed indefinitely.

"It may take at least another 24 months before we can take over some of the functions that are currently being managed by Metrorail," Herron said.

"I am hoping that, once business leaders have personally experienced the rail commute, they will have a better understanding of what we are facing and what we can do to address the most pressing issues."

ALSO READ: What Metrorail’s own stats show: Bad service

Meanwhile, Metrorail Cape Town said eight people were arrested and R10 000 worth of fines issued on Thursday morning for rail-related crimes. 

The service said it’s regional manager, Richard Walker, newly appointed Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa Acting Group Executive Officer Cromet Molepo, police and Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works Donald Grant conducted an oversight visit to damaged lines the morning. 

High-powered cables were found ripped out of the ground and plastic casings burnt off before they were sold to scrap dealers.

Walker said an additional 100 police and sixty security officials have been appointed to help protect "critical infrastructure in high-incidence areas". 

A reward of up to R25 000 has been offered for any information leading to a conviction.

"Unless all parties join hands against the wave of crime engulfing communities, they will continue to fall victim to crime bosses," Walker said in a statement. 

He specifically thanked officials for their dedication to keep essential services operating safely during the holiday season. 

 "These individuals sacrifice their time with loved ones to ensure that the public can enjoy their holidays in safety and peace."

Read more on:    metrorail  |  brett herron  |  cape town  |  transport

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