Minister Donald Grant
Western Cape Minister for Education
Minister Robin Carlisle
Western Cape Minister for Transport
This morning, Provincial Minister for Education Donald Grant and Provincial Minister of Public Works and Transport Robin Carlisle were in the Golden Acre shopping centre in the Cape Town City Bowl to monitor and assess the effects of train delays on learners.
The Golden Acre acts as an access route for learners travelling from the train station to some of our city’s schools. A large proportion of learners from the city schools travel from areas outside the city centre to schools in the city and rely on public transport, such as trains, to get them to school on time.
Recently, Minister Grant has conducted a series of visits to schools to monitor learner latecoming. Many of the learners complained that they were late due to train delays.
“I have often received complaints from learners that delays on Metrorail trains were the cause of them being late. While I am fully aware that many of these learners simply did not wake up in time, one has to feel sympathetic for those learners that did plan to get on school time, but were delayed because the train was late,” said Grant.
“After my office communicated with several schools in the city bowl who confirmed that delayed trains were causing a latecoming problem, I decided to alert my colleague Minister Carlisle to this issue so that he too could see the effects of Metrorail train delays on one of their biggest clients – the learners.”
Grant and Carlisle engaged with learners this morning who confirmed that train delays were frequent and most noticeable on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as, when it rained.
“My message to these learners is to please take these delays into consideration when planning when to travel to school. Wake up a bit earlier on these days to make provision for these delays. While it is unacceptable that they can’t consistently rely on such a service, this is the sad reality they face. So unfortunately this could mean getting up an hour earlier on these days, until, that is, Metrorail becomes more organised and reliable,” said Grant.
“By arriving late to school they are not only doing a disservice to themselves, but also to their fellow learners. If learners arrive on time it allows for our educators to maximise the whole lesson time ensuring that our learners receive the education they deserve. I am also concerned because we are approaching exam season. Delays on the train lines could disrupt the exam timetable.”
On the Transport side, Minister Carlisle said that, “the prevailing conditions of Metrorail’s lack of access control and general security, shortage of trains and outmoded signalling system have made it inevitable that the trains will not run on time.”
“That children cannot get to school on time is one of the most destructive results of this situation, and we will be paying for this for years to come. I am hopeful that recent attention on the perilous state of decline in the train service has led to a renewed commitment by Metrorail to tackle the key issues.”
He also indicated that he was optimistic that recent moves to restructure a single, united public transport partnership under the auspices of the City of Cape Town “will result in a vastly improved experience for our school-going children, as well as our commuters.”