File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town – A slight improvement in Metrorail’s performance has already been seen after the launch of the the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (Prasa) Ministerial War Room.

Launched by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on August 8, it officially began operating on Monday. The newly appointed director-general at the Department of Transport, Alec Moemi, met staff deployed to the War Room yesterday.

"Yesterday afternoon, 78% of scheduled train trips ran, with 53% of them running on time. This morning, those figures rose to 86% of scheduled train trips running and 73% of them running on time. 

"The War Room also detected the burning of two train carriages in Cape Town. Thanks to its swift action, the matter was attended to, the scene was cleared and services were recovered within four hours," Transport Ministry spokesperson Ayanda Allie Paine said. 

“The War Room is supported by a Technical Task Team primarily made up of experts with in-depth knowledge and experience in rail operations, signaling, rolling stock, security, business process, engineering and modelling. 

"The job of this War Room is to monitor Metrorail’s operations daily and ensure the implementation of turnaround strategies." 

The War Room has three focus areas: service recovery, safety management and accelerated implementation of the modernisation programme. 

The minister’s intervention will continue until the end of the 2019/20 financial year, with defined targets expected to be realised by December 31 and sustained beyond this date.