Only 13 of the 57 trains in KZN running
Prasa provincial communications manager Zama Nomnganga confirmed the figures, saying 44 train sets were in the yard as they had numerous problems - some could not be used due to damaged infrastructure. He said they were using the available train sets to cover all of their routes but there would be fewer journeys made.
Prasa has over the years been faced with numerous problems. Some of these included the burning of coaches, stealing of electrical cables and irregular spending which has crippled operations.
Nana Zenani, national Prasa spokesperson, said they had told passengers to buy single trip tickets and not weekly and monthly ones, which they had stopped selling. She said vandalism had forced them to change the scheduling of trains and cancel their services in most cases.
“Vast amounts of money have been spent in repairing the infrastructure only to have thieves return. Our current interventions will only succeed if there is a change in the public’s perception that Prasa assets are critical to the functioning of passenger rail service,” she said.
Leonard Hlatshwayo, deputy chairperson of the United Commuters Voice, said train commuters were suffering. He said the problem with single tickets was that they were expensive compared to weekly and monthly ones.
“You might as well take a taxi,” he said.
Hlatshwayo said there was more to the theft and vandalism as the people who committed it seemed to know what they were doing.
He said Prasa’s problems affected passengers as some waited up to four hours for a train and could not use any other mode of transport as they were poor.
Vandalism is one of the numerous problems that have faced the organisation.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula earlier this week announced that Prasa had been put under administration. Mbalula made the announcement after he said the work of the War Room was being wrapped up.
The War Room had been tasked to get Prasa back on its feet. In its work, it discovered numerous problems affecting operations at Prasa.