CAPE TOWN - Metrorail has once again succumbed itself to suspension, following yesterday's vandalism and cable theft attack. However, the commuter has since outlined key measures it has taken to reduce further delays and suspensions.
Cape Town's central line was suspended yesterday with no trains operating "until further notice".
Commenting on the decision to suspend the service on the Chris Hani - Kapteinsklip and Bishop Lavis lives, President of the Cape Chamber, Janine Myburgh said that the criminals have won.
"The time has come to get tough and ban the export of scrap copper and to treat metal theft as a serious crime. If we don't take drastic steps like this, we will lose the whole commuter rail service", warned Myburgh.
Although the value of stolen copper may amount to a few thousands, the damage done amounts to millions, says Myburgh.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has since responded to this by saying that measures have been put in place.
According to Metrorail spokesperson, Riana Scott, Metrorail has begun to deal with the vandalism in a number of ways, namely:
- By offering financial rewards for information leading to the conviction of perpetrators
- Lobbied government for the Criminal Matters Amendment Act (CMAA)
- Fitted sixteen stations with CCTV surveillance of which 30 camera are at each station
- Constructed a R3 million wall between Nyanga station and Lansdowne bridge
- Made 63 arrests since June
With the general cost of vandalism sitting at R70 million per annum on maintenance and repairs, "The takeover process is enacted in the National Land Transport Act and Metrorail region will continue to engage the City in compliance to the Memorandum of Action signed between PRASA and the City", says Metrorail.
Capital funds have already been reassigned to fund 54 projects to stabilise the service in the Western Cape at a total value of R292 million.
According to the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswangani’s recent announcement, R9 billion has already been assigned to the modernisation of the Western Cape’s rail infrastructure.
The bulk R3 billion would see the region receive 35 new train-sets and R2.9 billion would be used to upgrade the maintenance depot, security and fencing and walling.
The remainder R1.61 billion would be apportioned to station upgrades and the replacement of signalling including the construction of a new train traffic control centre, track and civils at R1.2billion, says Metrorail.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE