'Prasa is under siege from criminals'

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the party’s research points to a decrease in rail passenger numbers by approximately 50%.

FILE: A Metrorail train station in Cape Town. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the party’s research points to a decrease in rail passenger numbers by approximately 50%.

Their figures show that Metrorail commuter numbers have dropped from more than 600,000 in 2000 to an estimated 360,000 in 2017.

The Western Cape Legislature’s Standing Committee on Transport says that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's failure to deliver reliable services has a direct effect on the country's economy.

Chairperson Nceba Hinana says train cancellations in the Western Cape have increased from 3% in 2015, to 15% in 2017.

The DA has now called on Metrorail to urgently address the Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works and commuters on the issue. This includes delays, cancellations and safety.

Hinana says: “I think there’s political unwillingness to resolve the problem.”

Prasa's Nana Zenani told Eyewitness News they will not comment on the figures but adds that they need to have all hands on deck to address vandalism.

“Prasa is under siege from criminals, lives are being lost, both commuters as well as our employees.”

Zenani adds that Prasa has increased security measures since a security guard was killed on the central line in January.