"The Western Cape region spends more than R220 million annually on protection and security." Picture: Bheki Radebe/ANA Pictures
Some background to the prevailing service conditions bears reference before responding to Ms Holmes’ three questions.

The Western Cape region spends more than R220 million annually on protection and security.

The additional short-term measures demanded by the spiralling crime trends in the metro south-east (additional armed escorts for employees, night patrols with armoured vehicles, drone surveillance and forensic services) required special additional funding.

These interventions are funded by a finite operational budget derived from a diminishing fare box and government subsidy.

To ensure that commuters, employees and state assets are safeguarded in line with modernisation, technological and walling/fencing solutions are being implemented. Modernisation is funded through government guaranteed capital of R172billion over a 20-year term.

The loss of more than 40% of the regional train fleet.

Current state of infrastructure due to arson, vandalism, age and obsolescence.

The progressive migration to new technologies as part of Prasa’s modernisation.

Operational realities (speed restrictions, manual authorisations and unanticipated vandalism) directly correlate with revised timetables, longer running times, reduced frequencies and loss of patronage and therefore funding.

The perceived good performance of the central line is against a limited service, ie an hourly frequency and running times in excess of 100 minutes while the southern service operates at 25 minute frequencies during peaks amid the national re-signalling project in progress.

Signal and/or power failures can be attributed to a range of causes from tampering with fibre optic to technology migration issues.

Prasa remains committed to return Blackie to the station. The finalisation of its return depends on the procurement processes.

* Richard Walker, Regional manager and commuter.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus