At 6am, Plato, the MEC for safety and security until Mayor Patricia de Lille hands over the reins at the end of the month, together with the 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, attempted to catch a train at Mitchells Plain station to the CBD.
Mayor-elect Dan Plato and a DA delegation experienced first-hand on Monday morning what Metrorail commuters have to deal with on a daily basis. Their aim was to inspect the safety conditions in the run-up to the City, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA and the Western Cape government’s deployment of additional safety officers on the trains.
Plato said in a statement “it is clear that the management of Metrorail has reached a point of no return”, while also blaming a “lack of action” from national Transport Minister Blade Nzimande for bringing the “system to its knees”.
“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,” Plato said.
“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.“
Today, I 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.
“The Mitchells Plain station, like many other train stations in and around the Cape Town metro region, has become ‘ghost stations’, which in turn puts a strain on the effectiveness of service delivery in the City of Cape Town.”
“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 buses now to get to work, which has cost implications on train commuters of R250 or more on a monthly basis. This is simply unaffordable for most South Africans.
“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 have had a massive economic impact not only on Metrorail but also on train 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.”
Source: IOL News