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15 August 2017

Train cancellations in the Western Cape, have risen from 3% in October 2015, to well over 15% by July 2017.

This sharp rise is extremely alarming and I will therefore be submitting a parliamentary question to the Western Cape Minister of Public Works and Transport, Donald Grant, in order to ascertain what measures PRASA will be putting into place to improve the reliability of the Metrorail service in the Western Cape.

Railway remains the backbone of commuter public transport in the Western Cape, however, it is continuously unreliable. Currently, more than 620 000 passengers make use of Metrorail across the Province, equating to 48% of the total commuter traffic. At today’s Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works, PRASA briefed the Standing Committee on the current state the Metrorail Service.

Crime remains a massive hindrance with regards to Metrorail’s ability to be more efficient. In October, 2015, train punctuality, or the percentage of trains on time, was at 80%. However, in July 2017 train punctuality dropped to approximately 65%. During the same period, 101 train coaches were lost due to damages sustained by fire, equating to as much as R312 million.

Metrorail reports that 88 train sets are required to run the service efficiently in the Province. Currently, only 61 train sets are available which have to cover over 450km per day.

I welcome the plan to restore the amount of train sets from 61 back to 88 over the next 18 – 24 months. Furthermore, security measures need to be put into place in order to ensure that cable theft, crime, and damage to infrastructure is decreased.

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