The City has been given the green light by Council to proceed with its plans to take over management of passenger rail service. The Metrorail infrastructure has been dilapidated for some time causing disruptions and mayhem for commuting workers.

A council meeting on Thursday saw the business plan for the assignment of the urban rail function to the City of Cape Town approved. The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) will now approach national government for mandatory approvals, as well as funding, in order to assume control of commuter rail in an incremental and structural way.

Brett Herron, Mayco member for Transport and Urban Development, said this would not happen quickly.

“Our business plan is the first step in this process which entails a detailed due diligence and planning phase. This phase is to be concluded within the next two to three years, following which we will present an Assignment Implementation Plan and a Rail Master Plan to council for approval.

“Following council’s approval this morning, we will commence with our strategy for getting urban rail back on track,” he said.

According to Herron, the City’s top priority is creating a customer focused urban rail system where taking the train becomes the norm, and the chosen form of transport by most Capetonians.

One of the main goals for the service will be to ensure punctuality, with at least 80% of trains running on time. Herron says the City hopes to rebuild rail commuters’ belief in the service.

“We have to restore commuters’ faith in passenger rail by ensuring that commuters feel, and are safe at our stations and on our trains,” Herron said.

The City also aims to make payment easy, by allowing commuters to use one method of payment for all public transport services. This will include traveling on a MyCiTi bus, or by train.

“For the City to fix passenger rail we will have to take over all of the assets required to provide the service – from the stations and the land the assets are located on, to the tracks, signalling system, and the existing and new rolling stock to be allocated to Cape Town through the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) recapitalisation programme,” Herron said.

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