Metrorail commuters consider alternatives, strike looms

Commuters were crammed onto a train travelling from Wellington to Cape Town this morning.

Metrorail commuters were crammed onto a train travelling to Cape Town on 7 April 2016. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Some Metrorail commuters are considering alternative methods of transport in anticipation of a planned strike by workers today.

The strike by workers affiliated with the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has been declared illegal after Metrorail applied for an urgent interdict last night.

Commuters were crammed onto a train travelling from Wellington to Cape Town this morning.

But on any given morning, this is the usual scene on Metrorail carriages, so it's difficult to say if the strike has led to services having to be cut.

Journey time has increased for many passengers with delays of up to 50 minutes on the northern line.

Passengers were assured by an announcement over a system at one of the platforms, that the delay is the result of a train that broke down near Stikland.

Some commuters say they'll take either a bus or taxi this afternoon when they head home, to avoid further disruptions.

But one commuter says she doesn't have money for alternative transport so she has to rely on train services.

Meanwhile, a small group of Metrorail workers has gathered in front of the Cape Town Train Station.

A protesting worker has told Eyewitness News that he's expecting more colleagues to join the demonstration.

Protesters are singing old liberation struggle songs.

Police officers are keeping a close eye on the protesters.

Satawu's Lutho Mhlontlo says they're protesting for a salary increase as well.

Mhlontlo has urged protesters to push ahead with the strike, while the union seeks legal advice over a court interdict obtained by Metrorail last night.