Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019

Fikile Mbalula takes the train but things go off track [video]

fikile mbalulaThe minister experienced, first hand, what it was like to be a Metrorail commuter.

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Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, got a little rude awakening when his rail campaign, in Cape Town, was marred by delays that affect commuters on a daily basis.

On Tuesday morning, Mbalula followed in the footsteps of Cyril Ramaphosa and braved the downtrodden railway system of Cape Town, to engage with commuters about their experiences with the embattled Metrorail services.

Fikile Mbalula train ride marred by delays

However, he soon realised the true nature of this public transport service when the scheduled train he was meant to take in Nyanga train station was delayed due to a passenger-related incident.

This is one of the many problems faced by commuters who rely on this cost-effective public transport alternative. Metrorail trains are, on a daily basis, always hampered by delays, either due to cable theft, errors in the railway system or passenger-related incidents.

Fikile Mbalula was forced to cut his trip short and used a shuttle to get to Langa station, where the tracks connect trains from the Northern Line as well.

There, he took a train to Cape Town station and finally got the opportunity to engage with commuters, who held back no punches in telling the Transport Minister what they thought about the service.

What concerns did commuters raise with Mbalula?

Safety was one of the issues he heard the most from commuters. Although the work of the Railway Enforcement Unit has made strides in reducing robberies and other crimes committed on trains, passengers still feel unsafe on trains.

Other commuters expressed concerns with Mbalula about the apparent neglect the Central Line (connecting the city to the eastern periphery, or Cape Flats) has been shown by Metrorail.

The man, who is seen below speaking to the minister stated that the people are frustrated with how the Northern and Southern Lines get budget preference over the Cape Flats route.

Mbalula promises swift action to fix railway issues

“My starting point is to establish a war room because a war room guarantees that all elements and all parties are on board and then the minister gets first-hand information and where necessary intervenes,” the minister said

After the trip, the minister made assertions about what had to be done to address all of the ills he bore witness to on his train ride.

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