The City of Cape Town is now ready to go ahead with a detailed feasibility study for the takeover of the metropolitan rail function to the metro. This was announced by the City’s mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis in his speech to a council meeting on Thursday, 28 April.
He said the rail service run by PRASA has reached a crisis point in Cape Town, with just 33 operational train sets in 2020 compared to 95 trains sets in 1995.
“I think every councillor here, and every resident of the city, shares my frustration with the national government-controlled passenger rail service, run by PRASA,” he said.
He said PRASA reported to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works about its rail service in this province. “It was revealed that In June 2019, Prasa was operating 444 train trips on a weekday in Cape Town, in early 2020, (pre-pandemic) this had dropped to 270 daily trips, and that this year there are no more than 153 train trips across the city on a weekday, a 66% reduction in availability of the service,” he said.
He added that projects of this ambition take time and it’s important that they start immediately. “We have already issued the tender and the work will begin as soon as the new financial year begins on 1 July this year,” he added.
He said a letter from the Minister of Finance this week not only gives them a green light to conduct the passenger rail feasibility study, but fully endorses their intended policy direction in favour of devolution of this critical function.
“In the letter, Minister Godongwana expresses the view on behalf of the National Treasury that a study of this kind is essential and should be carried out by the City.
“This is a big deal, because up until now, the national government had tried to block the feasibility study. There is a new wind blowing, we hope,” he said.
Picture: Cape Town ETC