10 April 2014

South Africa: Metrorail Warns Commuters in Attempt to Stop Deaths On Its Network

Following two deaths in April, Metrorail security services have been told to take strong action against any commuter found riding outside the trains.

Metrorail says trains will no longer leave the platform if commuters are hanging on the outside of the trains.

This follows two recent deaths on the rail system reported by GroundUp. The names of the two deceased have not yet been released.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said, on 1 April a 23-year old man had died "in an attempt to cross the railway tracks illegally between Nyanga and Heideveld Stations."

On 2 April at 7:31am, a passenger had tried to board a moving train departing from platform 18 at Bellville station, when "he slipped and fell beneath the train".

Regional Metrorail management has expressed condolences to the families of the dead.

According to Prasa, there were 238 deaths on the railways in the 2012-2013 financial year.

Prasa said 221 people had died when they were struck by trains while walking on the tracks, and 17 people had died after falling while hanging outside the trains or the vandalised train doors.

"Our service is undergoing modernisation of critical areas of our operations to prepare for our new trains and also to improve our operational safety," said PRASA Rail CEO, Mosenngwa Mofi.

But he warned the upgrading would cause delays and longer journey times which would "further compound the prospect of overcrowding."

Jasper Theron, frequent Metrorail traveller, said "as soon as a train is delayed, it gets very packed and people are spilling out of the doors. It never feels safe."

Metrorail again cautioned against illegal crossing of railway tracks. Only authorised crossings like subways and overhead bridges should be used.

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