Metrorail and Me

2013-08-29 11:06

The epithet "Metro Fail" has been brandied about more often than the actual name of the parastatal from irate customers. This has been my experience on social media where people often take to vent. However, as an experienced train rider, is it really that much of a fail? Do we really have it that bad, compared to other parts of the world?

My day starts at 5:30, with my train departing from Brackenfell station. Sometimes it's late, other times it doesn't show. But that's life. At least that's the attitude I've adopted. Am I always happy with the service? Sometimes not.

However, I've seen inroads being made. The Twitter handle @CapeTownTrains is really efficient, and even interacts with users who have queries. Also, a R50 billion roll-out from government was announced. So is it fair to only see Metro as a fail?

These are my shades of rail for the various, and ever-changing (or -present) faces of MetroRail.

MetroVuil

Because who wants a clean travelling environment? Not me. I want the authentic experience. The grimy carriages, the stations with piles of trash and also the rubbish. Bliss! My favourite part is the fliers pasted on the trains. Dr. Khan, and others, whatever you're doing to "get a bigger penis" and my lover back, I need to know why you're not on Twitter?!

MetroFlail

The other day I helped a woman who fell up the stairs at Salt River station. That same day I helped a young woman with her mother and baby in pram on, and then off the train. Seriously, I better go to heaven for this shit.

Quick question though; you know I'm a big fan, but why are Mandalay and Lentegeur stations the only wheelchair-friendly stations?

All this aside, these trains certainly are a workout. Unless you have heavy feet, falling about is a certainty. So at this juncture, I'd like to introduce you to the Chante Lean Back. If you are familiar with drag queens, this is a helpful move to assist you in successfully riding the train. Because Lord knows it is a ride. So, when it gets too jerky and comes to that awkward slow stop with the final halt that will catch you off-guard, what you do is cross your legs, pivot and then, with your arms on your hips, lean back. You can go back as far as your medical aid will allow. In an awkward situation, you can even go all the way back and spider walk away. No one would question you.

MetroAil

We are such a divided society, one would think that we should be together more often. What better medium than our daily, mutually reviled morning commute? We should be rallying against work, or bad service. Instead we get angry with other commuters. At the risk of inciting the ire of the race carders, it usually seems to be racially motivated.

Can't we all just get along, (while squashed together like cattle)? This is fantastic for redress! Is the revered MetroPlus our last socially acceptable form of segregation?

Moving along. Someone tweeted about being stuck outside Bellville station for under an hour. If this is going to be an inevitability, make sure that you take precautions. One such measure is staying hydrated, but not too much. I witnessed a young man step outside between carriages and relieve himself because we were stuck so long outside Salt River. You're the guy whose friends said will now be known as Pee Man. If you're reading this, Hey boo.

MetroSail

This is what it's called when things go smooth sailing, with no glitches or delays. Unfortunately the fails seem to have overtaken the sails, so when people are late for work, they forget that sometimes the trains do indeed operate on time.

MetroAle

This is for the people who show up on the train stinking drunk. These people are my heroes. Not so much the stinking part, but to be drunk before 8am is a goal many people would one day hope to achieve. No? Just me? Well, more for me then.

My advice: look at the bright side. It could be a lot worse, but also, complain! If you are getting not such good service, make your voice heard. Shout, write letters, get e-mail campaigns going. Nothing will change unless you do it, and the right way. Happy riding!

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