Metrorail services suspended at 2 stations

Monday, October 26, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Metrorail services at Eerste Fabrieke and Pienaarspoort stations were still suspended on Monday.

Metrorail spokesperson Sibusiso Ngomane said incidence of criminality and general lawlessness made it impossible for Metrorail to continue operations without compromising the safety and security of its staff and commuters.

"A risk assessment exercise of the operations as well as the recent criminal incidents left Metrorail management, a division of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), with no option but to indefinitely suspend services in the area on Saturday," he said.

Two weeks ago, security guard and a commuter were shot and wounded on a train when a conductor asked to see tickets at Pienaarspoort.

The Risk Assessment Report also demonstrated capacity problems that conspire against safe delivery of services and the need for urgent intervention in terms of infrastructure investment.

"While we recognize that the area and the population numbers have grown exponentially over the years, infrastructure development has not kept pace with commuter demands.

"We also recognize that the community relies heavily on commuter rail to access economic and related opportunities as alternative transport is prohibitively costly however commuter and employee safety remains a cornerstone of our operations and a non - negotiable imperative," Ngomane said.

He said Metrorail believed that the shut down would also allow those responsible for criminal violations an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of their conduct.

During the service suspension period, Metrorail will press ahead with the work required to improve and upgrade the network, which will include the building of new stations in Greenview, Pienaarspoort and Panpoort.

"We will also build a double line in the area between Eerste Fabrieke and Panpoort to ensure speedy transit of traffic."

He said Metrorail understands the difficulty to some of the commuters that the suspension of services may cause; however, it remains their view that under the current operating circumstances this is an appropriate course of action.