Minister Carlisle: Metrorail Must Find Long-Term Solutions
Robin Carlisle, the Minister for Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, has confirmed that his Department is prepared to contribute money towards the protection of Metrorail assets in Cape Town.
"However, the first priority must be to secure all key stations on the main rail lines, where often 30% of commuters get onto trains for free. This is a huge contributor to overcrowding and vandalism, and it must be stopped."
"This overcrowding and vandalism are making things worse for the majority of law-abiding, paying passengers that daily take the train to work."
The Minister has seen Metrorail's projected budget of R22 million for repairing, replacing and building new fences around identified areas in the province, "but this is a tiny part of the holistic solution we are waiting to see from Metrorail".
"We are of course prepared to assist Metrorail to improve the situation faced by the estimated 600 000 rail commuters in the province. The protection of assets is definitely a short- to medium-term solution. However, we have made it clear to the steering committee chaired by Metrorail that asset protection must not be seen as the panacea to Metrorail's problems."
"We are also not convinced that fencing is a viable solution to vandalism."
Minister Carlisle, who takes the train at least four times a month, usually during peak hour, says the situation on the ground is getting worse.
"People are sick and tired of getting to work late because of cancelled and late trains. There are too few train sets in working order and too many of them are old. Metrorail only has between 81 to 90 train sets in a city where it needs a minimum of 120."
"The national government should not be spending money on transport luxuries, like five-lane freeways and express trains from the airport, but rather prioritise spending on dealing with the desperate situation for the 600 000 Cape Town train commuters who have no other option because they do not own cars."
"In my meeting with Metrorail's Western Cape Chairperson Lindelo Matya on Thursday, 14 July, I once again conveyed to him the large number of grievances we have received from the public."
Minister Carlisle said he would continue to discuss with Metrorail solutions to the crisis facing Cape Town's commuter railway network, the busiest in the country.
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