Rail commuters stranded after Langa protests
Metrorail says sheer volume means it cannot provide alternative transport
Today, people who depend on the Metrorail’s Central Line were left stranded again. Services were cancelled after a train was torched yesterday between Bellville and Tygerberg Stations by protesters from Langa. Signal cables were destroyed. Metrorail says these will take days to fix.
Spokesperson for Metrorail Riana Scott said the train services yesterday afternoon were diverted via Bellville so people could get home from Cape Town.
“We don’t know when the service will resume, it depends on the advice of SAPS after assessing the situation in Langa.”
In a statement released last night Metrorail said: ‘On the advice of police, Metrorail has suspended trains from all stations in the central service corridor. The decision to temporarily suspend services comes in the wake of continued volatility in the area.’
Dalton Ndongeni of Public Transport Voice said, “People do not know the right way to protest; they destroy the very same things that they need.”
On the issue of Metrorail not supplying alternative transport, the Metrorail statement said: ‘The high volumes of inbound commuter traffic from the Khayelitsha/Kapteinsklip area in the mornings (which is around 150,000 commuters) precludes the provision of buses or the reversal of the train shuttle service.’
In Khayelitsha, taxis commuters were also delayed due to the large number of people coming from trains.
Thembeka Voyeka, who lives in Khayelitsha and works as a domestic worker in Sea Point, says she was supposed to be at work at 8am but only arrived at work at 10:30am.
“I stopped using the trains a year ago because I was tired of the delays and getting to work late, but now it’s still affecting me even though I use a taxi. Today, I stood in the line to catch a taxi for over two hours,” said Voyeka.
Noliyanda Bhenya, a resident of Langa, has missed two days of work and says she has lost out on two days earnings.
Bhenya did not go to work yesterday because of the protest in the area. “I buy a monthly ticket which cost me R150 to travel to Southfield where I work. With no trains I would have to pay R52 on a return trip using a taxi and I do not have that money especially this time of the month,” said Bhenya.
Bhenya said as she does not know when the trains will work again, she will sleep in Philippi at a family member’s home.
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