THOUSANDS of train commuters were left stranded along the North Coast after the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) suspended train operations in KZN last week.
Prasa suspended its operations in KZN after angry train commuters allegedly set alight four train cars and damaged a ticket office and motor train coach in Umlazi J section on September 21.
Train commuters using trains from Tongaat and Verulam said they had to pay extra fees for taxis that they did not budget for.
Sibonelo Ngcobo works in Tongaat and travels from KwaMashu to Tongaat from Monday to Friday.
“I have been travelling in a train from KwaMashu to Tongaat for the past four years. I prefer a train because I can save money. We have always had issues with trains coming in late in the morning and afternoons, however, we still believe that Prasa officials will give us an update on this matter.
“Travelling from KwaMashu to Verulam costs me R70 per trip in one day. That means I will have to fork deeper into my pockets and pay R350 a week and R1400 a month if Prasa suspends trains again,” she said.
Mlondi Dlamuka, from Ntuzuma, said that since the trains have been suspended he took a two-week leave from work.
“This has affected me financially because I bought a ticket for the whole month. But, after two weeks, I have to go back to work, and if Prasa is not sorting out this problem, I will have to travel with taxis,” Dlamuka said.
MEC for Community Safety and Media Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda said security guards will be deployed to monitor the situation in Umlazi to ensure that passengers are safe.
Prasa spokesperson Zama Nomnganga confirmed on Tuesday, October 2 that trains have started working in KZN. However, other train commuters opted to continue travelling with taxis.
Mazwi Xaba works in the Tongaat textile industry. Xaba said he bought a train ticket for the month before Prasa suspended operations last week.
“We still have problems with Prasa. Commuters are still not allowed to buy tickets for the month. We can only buy a ticket for one week and this not on,” Xaba said.