People are literally dying trying to get to work and back.
This week illustrated just how bad the problem is.
The trouble started on Monday when 148 taxi associations embarked on a “peaceful” strike.
Yoh! It was like a Mad Max movie out there, motorists were attacked, two buses were torched and others stoned, injuring passengers in the process.
The associations, who distanced themselves from the violence, were protesting against the leadership of their national body, Santaco, and the impounding of minibuses.
With nearly the whole province’s taxi fleet off the road, traffic, train and bus services were a mess, workers and students were late.
People counted themselves lucky to have survived the commute, and were dreading the trip home.
Fortunately, after eight hours of hell, the transport MEC called for a mediation, and the strike was suspended.
But the issues are far from resolved.
Two days later and another incident sparked a disaster.
A truck overturned on the N1, killing the driver and crushing two people in a car.
With the N1 closed down at 9.30am, thousands of people were late for work.
Here at the Daily Voice, we started work an hour late, it was the same elsewhere.
Now authorities are calling for a ban on trucks on highways during peak times.
Speaking of delays, Metrorail made headlines again.
On Tuesday, chairperson of the Western Cape provincial legislature’s standing committee on public works and transport, Nceba Hinana, said there had been 32 murders and 114 incidents of assault recorded between 2015 and 2017 on trains and railway stations in the Western Cape.
And Metrorail later confirmed they spent nearly R340 000 on guns, ammunition and training to protect their staff, commuters and infrastructure.
I agree 100% that security needs to be beefed up, for the passengers’ sake and to combat vandalism and arson, which costs the rail service big.
But guards carrying guns on crowded trains and platforms? That’s not the safest idea, is it?
Ai, arme Metrorail is a Titanic on wheels and perhaps it’s time this service was privatised.
All in all, the transport situation in the Western Cape is a social and economic crisis and it’s only going to get worse.
Government needs to urgently sit down and work on some radical solutions to these problems.
* Taariq Halim is editor of the Daily Voice.