Commuters relieved as trains return to one of Cape Town’s busiest stations

PRASA says services in Parow will only be available during the week for now.

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Parow station, previously the busiest station on the northern line, reopened to commuters on Monday. Photo: Tariro Washinyira

  • The Parow Station resumed services on Monday for the first time since its closure for lockdown in 2020.
  • The station was one of the busiest stations on the Northern Line, with high commuter volumes.
  • PRASA says services in Parow will only be available during the week for now.

The resumption of train services from Parow Station on Metrorail’s Northern Line in Cape Town has come as much-needed financial relief to people in the surrounding communities.

Prior to being closed at the start of the Covid lockdown in March 2020, Parow was one of the busiest stations. During the closure, commuters had to walk to Tygerberg and Elsies River in order to catch a train to Cape Town. A single taxi trip along this 30 minute walking route costs about R14.

In March last year we reported that Metrorail had brought back trains to the Northern Line via Goodwood but trains were not stopping at Parow. Trains still do not stop at Degrendale Station on the Parow North Montevista route.

We spoke to a dozen commuters on Monday morning who were using the station for the first time since 2020.

Ralton Davids was travelling to Claremont where he works as caretaker. He said he was excited to be using the Parow station again because he had been travelling 45 minutes from Cravenby to Tygerberg station.

“Sometimes I’d walk in the rain or end up taking a bus. The bus is R30 a trip from Parow. Then I have to take another bus at Woodstock to Claremont which is R44. But a train would cost R8 a trip. A weekly train ticket is R50. I’m happy I can now save for other things and will be able to afford more groceries,” he said.

Esnath, who works in Tokai, said she was spending about R2,000 on other transport modes from Parow to Tokai. A taxi from Parow to Bellville costs R18, Bellville to Wynberg is R20, then Wynberg to Tokai is another R12. And then I would need to travel back home and do it all again each day of the week.

By using a train again her transport costs will drop to R400 per month.

Parow Ward Councillor Franchesca Walker told GroundUp that she met PRASA and Transnet officials on 17 January 2023 to discuss when Parow Station will be reopened. “We welcome the upgrades of the stations and await the full plan when Parow Station and Bishop Lavis Station have been completed.”

Metrorail spokesperson Zinobulali Mihi said Degrendale and Bishop Lavis stations were severely vandalised and are still being refurbished. “Only one train is running in Bishop Lavis, a shuttle service between Ysterplaat and Bellville.”

In a statement on 30 January, PRASA said, “Parow station is one of the busiest stations in area North, with high commuter volumes, as it is next to industrial areas including high schools, tertiary institutions such as Unisa, Northlink College, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), hospitals, malls, and shopping centres.”

PRASA said that the re-introduced service will only be available during the week for now. “We will give further updates as we monitor and improve the service.”

TOPICS:  Prasa / Metrorail Transport

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The train times run too spread out. I have to leave early to get a connecting train because I have to wait an hour for it.

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