24 April 2018

South Africa: Metrorail Adds to Commuter Woes During Bus Strike

Commuters were left stranded at Parow station on Tuesday morning, due to a "signal equipment failure at Bellville" according to a Metrorail employee who told GroundUp that commuters should "make use of alternative transport."

Some commuters, including school children returned home, as taxi operators took advantage of the situation and charged double. Others clubbed together to hire private taxis. The prolonged bus strike has forced additional commuters to use the trains.

It was chaotic at Parow station as commuters went up and down the stairs. Some trains were standing still. The main entrance to the platform for Cape Town trains was closed and there were no ticket checkers to be found. Some commuters jumped off their stationery train and started walking along the tracks.

At 8:30am a 55-year-old woman who gave her name as Maria said she had been waiting for the train since 6am. She said she would return home. "I have ill health and would like to avoid last Friday's experience when I arrived at work about 11am after walking from Mutual station to Koeberg to get a taxi to Cape Town."

Maria said her constant late arrivals had strained her relationship with her employer.

Yvonne, who boarded the train at Elsies River, said she would have to spend R20 on taxis to Salt River and then take another train to Claremont, where she is employed as a domestic worker. She said she had to make up for last week Friday when she arrived at work after 12pm because of train problems. Her boss released her early so that she could get back home.

She said she was worried that her employer might get fed-up with her late arrivals. "I really need this job. I am a single mother with a child in school. I am striving to keep my employer happy but the trains are always disappointing," she said.

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