120403. Cape Town. The MEC for Transport, Mr Carlisle, took a Metro train from Kraaifontein station in the Northern suburbs to Cape Town. During the ride the MEC asked commuters opinion about the price hike on train tickets. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus. Reporter Neo Maditla

Unhappiness is what Transport MEC Robin Carlisle found among commuters faced with steep fare increases on a train from Kraaifontein to Cape Town on Tuesday.

But the Cape Chamber of Commerce says it recognises Metrorail’s need to up ticket prices by up to 21 percent.

Carlisle said the chamber and Cosatu should be ashamed of themselves for agreeing to Metrorail’s price increases. But Gordon Metter, the chamber’s deputy president, said that while the fare increase will still negatively impact on commuters’ budgets, it acknowledged that Metrorail had come to the party to reduce the impact of the increase.

“We are entering into further negotiations to ensure future increases are more in line with inflation. The Cape Chamber will also ensure we engage in discussions with Transnet, the regulator and transport officials at a local and a national level,” Metter said.

“The Cape Chamber takes a holistic view of our transport networks. We have to balance the quality of service with the price of that service.

“We are pushing forward our discussions with Metrorail to ensure that commuters are actually getting the service they are paying for.”

On Tuesday, Carlisle said he was still lobbying for a single digit increase and that he would be writing to Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele to ask him to bring down the fares.

Although Metrorail, Cosatu and the chamber agreed on an increase between 13 and 21 percent, Carlisle found commuters were paying up to 50 percent more for tickets.

Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott said there had been a technical fault with their system which led them to charging Metrorail Plus commuters 50 percent extra for their tickets. She said commuters would be refunded.

Carlisle said the cashiers he had spoken to on Tuesday knew nothing about the technical fault.

“Every last one of the commuters I spoke to, in Metro and MetroPlus carriages, bemoaned the fact that Metrorail wants more money for a worse service. These complaints were on top of hundreds of e-mails and phone calls received daily by this ministry from desperate Metrorail commuters, who are again and again affected by cancelled and late trains, as well as criminal elements.”

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Other modes of transport

A single ticket on a train from Khayelitsha or Mitchells Plain to Cape Town will cost between R6.50 and R11.

A taxi passenger will pay R12 for a taxi from Site B to Cape Town. One heading to Cape Town from Mitchells Plain costs R10 for a one way trip. A Golden Arrows bus to Makhaza costs R12.50 for a single trip. A weekly ticket costs R83.50 and R370 for a monthly ticket.

A bus ticket between Cape Town and Mitchells Plain will cost R12.50 during off-peak hours and R21.80 during peak hours, a weekly ticket costs R88.50 and a monthly ticket is R389.

Cape Argus