Minister Carlisle Wants Metrorail to Get Trains from the Eastern Cape
Robin Carlisle, the Minister for Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, has suggested that "Metrorail get trains from the Eastern Cape, where there is an oversupply, to bring the number of train sets closer to the 120 needed in Cape Town".
"Currently there are too few train sets in working order and too many of them are old. Metrorail only has between 81 and 90 train sets in a city where it needs a minimum of 120."
"It is time to start looking further afield, even if it means hiring trains from foreign countries with the same rail gauge as South Africa."
"Trains, which transport the highest number of workers each day, are in a state of crisis. What is even more worrying for us is that all the signs suggest that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better."
"Members of the public are constantly approaching my department asking us to fix this mess. The railway network is the backbone of our transport system, so it must be revitalised as a matter of urgency."
"The dignity of the tens of thousands that use our trains is undermined on a daily basis and it is precisely for this reason that we need to see more of a sense of urgency from national government and PRASA. They have said repeatedly they want to do something about this, but nothing has happened to alleviate the current situation."
"Capetonians are sick and tired of the overcrowded, late and cancelled trains that often make them late for work."
"Currently there is a lot that needs to be done."
"The opposition in the City Council is constantly attacking the city over establishing bus lanes on the West Coast instead of to the impoverished communities of the south east, whereas fixing rail on the south-east line could be achieved at a fraction of the cost of a BRT solution. A train carries as many passengers as 60 buses, and if we are going to make any progress in alleviating commuting conditions for the poor we need to start by fixing rail, and only the national government and PRASA can do this."
"A temporary solution for Metrorail could be getting trains from the Eastern Cape, or hiring them from foreign countries with the same rail gauge as South Africa."
"Crime and vandalism are also taking their toll. Cables are stolen, and lights and benches are removed, so security also urgently needs to be improved."
Minister Carlsile said he would continue to "discuss solutions with Metrorail to the crisis facing Cape Town's commuter railway network, the busiest in the country".
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