Cape Town – Of the 2 513 trains scheduled to run in the region in the past week, 1 459 were delayed due to obsolete machinery, an aged fleet and damage to essential infrastructure.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott disclosed the figures after trains came to a halt across the region yesterday morning.
The stoppages were as a result of two incidents - a group of employees who stopped working to raise concerns that they wanted management to address and a pedestrian fatality.
Metrorail said regional management addressed the issues raised by the employees, who resumed work thereafter.
“The northern service was impacted by a pedestrian fatality reported at 8.25am outside Elsies River station. Trains were re-directed on to an alternative line, resulting in platform changes between Tygerberg and Woltemade stations,” Metrorail said in a statement.
Regional manager Richard Walker expressed concern and regret about the incident and asked commuters and pedestrians to use underpasses or overhead bridges to cross railway lines to avoid accidents.
Due to these incidents, delays of more than 60 minutes were experienced and some trains had to be cancelled to create capacity on the network.
Walker said while employees had every right to raise issues of concern, doing so non-procedurally impacted unnecessarily and unfairly on commuters who relied in good faith on trains to get them to work.
“We will deal with the matter through our own internal processes,” Walker said.
United National Transport Union general secretary Steve Harris described the state of the railway service as “disastrous” and deteriorating every day.
“After the Minister of Transport’s visit, in our view, he is not going to be able to resolve the problem on his own. He needs assistance from the rest of the government, from Treasury, the SAPS and the president.
“You will not be able to change the current status overnight. The continuous threats of crime, theft of cables, it hampers the service severely at the end of the day,” he said.
“There are a whole lot of issues that need to be dealt with. As much as we want to see a reliable and safe service, there is not enough will from government to come to the party.’’