This morning at 6am Cape Town Mayor-elect, Dan Plato, together with City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member of Social Services and Safety and Security, JP Smith, and the DA’s Team One SA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen MP met at Mitchells Plain train station to catch a train from there to Cape Town to inspect the safety conditions in the run-up to the City, Prasa and the Western Cape Government’s deployment of additional safety officers on the trains.
However, almost an hour later, no train had arrived and the leaders engaged with commuters about what they have to endure on a daily basis before they headed back to Cape Town by car.
Mitchells Plain train station has become a “ghost station”; Hundred of commuters queue to take a taxi after the train once again did not arrive.
It is clear that the management of Metrorail has reached a point of no return.
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: “Today, I witnessed first-hand the frustrations, commuters have to endure on a daily basis. Commuters has 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. The Mitchells Plain station, like many other train stations in and around the Cape Town metro region has become “ghost stations” which in turn is a strain on the effectiveness of service delivery in the City of Cape Town.”
Listen to soundbite here.
Commuters no longer rely on Metrorail to get them from home to work and back. The failure of Metrorail to ensure trains arriving on time, has led to commuters having to resort to alternative transport to get to work and back. Many train commuters have to use taxis or busses now to get to work, which has costs implications on train commuters of R250 or more on a monthly basis. This is simply unaffordable for most South Africans.
Watch a video of regular commuter, Rushqah Davis, sharing her daily frustration with the train system here.
With regard to the failing management of safety and security at Metrorail, we again saw last week, with the burning of trains at the Cape Town Station, the need for intervention to take control of this system. The continued arson attacks on our transport system has had a massive economic impact not only Metrorail, but also on train commuters.
John Steenhuisen and JP Smith engaging with commuters.
The people that continue to suffer are however ordinary South Africans. Rail remains the only truly affordable transportation in the era of record fuel prices. Yet the system has been brought to its knees by widespread arson attacks and lack of accountability from the national government. Until the rot is sorted out at the top, commuters in and around Cape Town will continue to suffer due to a lack of action on the part of Minister Nzimande.
Only the DA-led City of Cape Town can sort out the mess at Metrorail created by the failing ANC national government.