Metrorail

A Metrorail Class 5M2A electric multiple unit near Kalk Bay station on the Metrorail Western Cape Southern Line. Photo: Ben Crouch

The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government have agreed to establish a dedicated enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure.

The decision was taken at an urgent rail summit held in Cape Town on Friday morning. Details about how the enforcement unit will be funded, established and managed will be addressed in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PRASA, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, which will be finalised and signed within the next few weeks.

A strong starting point

The City noted it would cos approximately R45 million to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months and according to Brett Herron, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, the City is ready and willing to contribute R16 million to get this plan off the ground.

“I have asked the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority’s acting commissioner to reprioritise projects and to find the money somewhere in our budget, and he did. I am grateful that we have agreed on a starting point to address the safety and security issues to stabilise the urban rail service in the short term,” he explained.

Mthuthuzeli Swartz, acting Chief Executive Officer of Rail at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), also committed to contribute R3 million per month to the City for managing and deploying Metrorail’s security service personnel with immediate effect.

Building a wall

In addition, Metrorail will be building a wall along the most critical sections of the Central line to secure the infrastructure that has been under constant attack over the past few months. This is a section of approximately 15 km in length, thus amounting to 30 km of wall on both sides of the railway infrastructure.

From a Western Cape Government point of view, the socio-economic and environmental benefit of a well-functioning rail service cannot be overstated, said Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works.

“Rail has the potential to provide rapid access to social and economic opportunities for a broad cross-section of society, contributing to an efficient, competitive and inclusive city and helping to overcome some of the continuing spatial divides,” he concluded.