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City of Cape Town bids to take over running Metrorail

City of Cape Town bids to take over running Metrorail

The City of Cape Town announced that it has requested the right to manage the rail commuter service in the city as it fears the service is in danger of completely collapsing.

Chronic delays and fear for personal safety has seen commuter numbers on the rail system in Cape Town fall by 30 per cent, translating into around three million fewer rail journeys per month for the 2016/17 financial year in comparison with previous years.

The City said around 11 per cent, or one out of every 10 trains is cancelled everyday.

Metrorail's own data confirms that over the last two years it has lost commuters to road-based transport, such as buses, taxis and private vehicles.

The City says that Cape Town canot survive without a fully functional and effective passenger rail service and that Metrorail's collapse would be disastrous for its economic growth and would negatively impact on travelling, household expenditure on transport, not to mention the environmental degradation resulting from carbon emissions.

The municipality believes it can do a much better job of delivering a functioning service than Metrorail and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry concurs.

"The first thing to do to prevent the destruction of the infrastructure, Metrorail should welcome the support of the city," the Chamber's Janine Myburgh said.

"The city should not be involved in the running of the services but it would a good starting point for a more constructive relationship between the city and Metrorail".

Now frustrated Metrorail commuters have to wait and see whether the national transport department will expedite its rail policy to allow the municipality to intervene.

And that wait, it is believed, could take another three years.

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