Commuters likely have long wait for CT rail turnaround

The City of Cape Town on Thursday considered an ambitious plan for the council to take over the rail infrastructure in the city.

FILE: A Metrorail train. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - It's going to be a long wait for Metrorail commuters hoping that the city can turn around the ailing rail transport provider.

The City of Cape Town on Thursday considered an ambitious plan for the council to take over the rail infrastructure in the city.

But it's likely to take many years before those plans come to fruition.

The city council on Thursday got the first taste of the plan with a broad outline of what they are hoping to achieve: stabilise the service, prevent further decline, and improve service delivery.

Council signed off on the plan but if you're a commuter, don't hold your breath for instant action.

It could still take three years just to complete the business plan for the project.

Once that hurdle is crossed, officials will need to draw up an implementation plan, which will show how the risks identified in the business plan can be mitigated.

The city will then need to take its plan to national government to ask for the hundreds of millions of rand that will be needed to improve the service.

LISTEN: Off the rails: CT's rail woes laid bare

Meanwhile, a transport analyst says that Cape Town's rail system could collapse within three years.

Expert Gordon Laing says this is feasible but adds that time is against authorities.

“The bigger issue is that in two to three years’ time, we might not have a system at all. And to take over something that doesn’t exist and doesn’t function, you’re just digging a bigger hole for yourself.”

Laing was speaking to breakfast show host Kieno Kammies.