CT council to hear proposal for city to take over rail network

Transport consultant Richard Gordge says putting control into the hands of local authorities is a great idea.

Metrorail commuters wait on trains at Philippi station on 20 April 2016. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Hundreds of thousands of commuters who rely on trains to get where they are going will be looking to the council chambers on Thursday.

That’s where an ambitious proposal will be tabled, aimed at allowing the City of Cape Town to take control of the rail network.

Metrorail has been beset by problems in recent years, including vandalism and train-based crime.

Commuter anger has turned violent on more than one occasion and ticket sales have steadily declined.

Metrorail is an integral part in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Cape Town, 60% of the Cape’s public transport commuters use the service, relying on it for their bread and butter.

The city’s plan could take years to get off the ground.

Transport consultant Richard Gordge says putting control into the hands of local authorities is a great idea.

“The intent of devolution of control for local transport matters to the relevant local entity makes total sense.”

But it’s a long-term plan and Metrorail needs rescuing now.

Metrorail says it is doing what it can to curb incidents of crime associated with its trains and it's hoping to enlist the help of the communities it serves to make a dent in the problem.