20 April 2018

South Africa: Metrorail Delays Hit Cape Town Commuters, As Bus Strike Continues

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp
(file photo)

Commuters in Cape Town already in the midst of a bus strike have to contend with a near breakdown of train services, after Metrorail announced massive delays across its network on Friday morning.

The company said there were delays of more than 60 minutes on all lines heading into Cape Town, due to a signal failure between the Cape Town, Mutual/Pinelands/Observatory and the Ysterplaat lines.

It advised commuters to make alternative travel arrangements.

However, commuters are having to contend with Day 3 of a national bus strike that has left thousands stranded and minibus taxis strained to cater for the increased travel load.

Unions and employers have reached a deadlock in their wage negotiations in which workers have demanded a 12% increase and employers offered 7%. A meeting on Thursday, mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), failed to resolve the dispute and on Friday morning, bus services were still not operating.

Metrorail has come under fire in the past for its failure to provide safe and efficient public transport and on Wednesday, Transport Minster Blade Nzimande lambasted Metrorail owner, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), for its failure to South Africans.

"Some people are treating Prasa like an ATM. It prioritises everything else, except the provisioning of safe affordable rail transport," said Nzimande, adding that the state-owned entity was in a "mess".

The bus strike has also led to traffic chaos on the roads and tension at taxi ranks as frustrated commuters try to get to their destinations.

Metrorail says commuters can call 0800 65 64 63 for transport information.


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