Johannesburg (GroundUp) – Trains on Cape Town’s Central Line are still not running. These trains have not been operating since 8 January, when United National Transport Union (UNTU) members refused to work after the killing of a security guard.
The service was due to start again after a meeting between UNTU and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) at which PRASA promised to step up security on the line. But services were immediately suspended again following vandalism on the line, and have not been restored.
But the problems are not limited to the Central Line. Even on the Northern and Southern Lines, trains are not running as they should, as our reporter found out on Tuesday.
I boarded a Cape Town-bound train at Parow station at about 7:24 am. It stopped between Thornton and Mutual stations for almost 40 minutes. No explanation from Metrorail. Then the same train stopped again for ages at the Mutual station. At the Mutual station, an Express train, also Cape Town-bound, that had passed us at Parow station, was also stuck. Trains going the other way were also stuck at the station.
Finally, our train moved off, only to stop again between Maitland and Woltemade. No explanation from Metrorail. It finally arrived at Salt River at 8:42 am. A journey which is scheduled to take 20 minutes had taken more than an hour.
A commuter sitting next to me said, “My employer is now used to this. When train problems started I used to text every detail – delay, cancelled, train is stuck, doors not opening. I don’t text anymore. I am fed up.”
Other frustrated commuters took their anger out on Facebook:
Joey C Lewis Calvert wrote about the Northern line: “Boarded a train at 7:25 am at Elsies River station, only to arrive in town at 8:50 am.”
Leonie Matchett complained about the Southern Line: “How much longer is there going to be a problem at Mowbray and observatory? Been a problem since end September?? “
Randy Hendricks wrote “Boarded the Business Express at 6:25 am and only got to town at 8:45 am. I said to the onboard staff that we might as well go for lunch.”