Cape Town's 'ghost trains' leave DA leaders steaming

Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)
Dan Plato. (Netwerk24)

Three DA leaders' plan to join Cape Town's train commuters was derailed on Monday morning.

City of Cape Town's incoming mayor Dan Plato, mayoral committee member for social services and safety and security JP Smith and DA chief whip John Steenhuisen met at 06:00 at Mitchells Plain train station to catch a train to Cape Town to inspect the safety conditions in the run-up to the deployment of additional safety officers on the trains by the City, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and the Western Cape government. 

But what they found was a virtual "ghost station".

For an hour, they waited in vain for a train. 

"The leaders engaged with commuters about what they have to endure on a daily basis before they headed back to Cape Town by car," reads a statement.

"It is ludicrous that on a Monday morning, there was no train travelling from this densely populated area and people had to desperately make use of alternative, more expensive transport to get to their places of work."

Plato said he witnessed first-hand the frustrations commuters have to endure on a daily basis. 

"Commuters have completely lost faith in the management of Metrorail due to trains not arriving on time or simply not arriving at all – as was the case this morning," Plato said according to the statement. 

"The Mitchells Plain station, like many other train stations in and around the Cape Town metro region, has become a ghost station which in turn is a strain on the effectiveness of service delivery in the City of Cape Town."

Standing on the almost empty platform, Steenhuisen said it was obvious that commuters had lost faith in the train system to get them to work on time.

He said this exacerbated congestion on Cape Town roads.

"It is a shame to see what was once a stellar public transport system being reduced to a shadow of its former self.

"The lack of focus on security, on making sure trains run on time and most importantly on commuter safety, has led to this loss in confidence," he said. 

A commuter, Rushqah Davis, told the politicians there was a 07:00 train last week.

"Now, this week, there's nothing," she said. 

"It actually affects our pockets, because now we must make use of the taxis."

To add to the frustrations of commuters in Cape Town, workers of the DA-run City of Cape Town's MiCiTi bus service were on strike on Monday.

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