Fred Nel MPL
Deputy Spokesperson on Roads and Transport
The reported stampede at the Pretoria Metrorail station Monday morning once again placed the spotlight on passenger services and safety at Metrorail stations in Gauteng. It is clear from the latest incident that passengers find it difficult to navigate through Metrorail stations and that their safety is endangered due to constant chaos.
Apart from the safety issue it is also a known fact that fare dodging is a regular occurrence at these stations due to their poor passenger flow and design, causing major losses for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and frustration among passengers that lead to incidents such as the one that occurred on Monday.
The Gautrain stations have proven that through proper design, signage, security and fare collection systems you can handle large volumes of passengers at any given time. There is no reason why this class of service cannot be extended to Metrorail passengers.
Although Prasa, who runs Metrorail, must be commended for its large investment in new rolling stock (trains) and signalling systems, a similar investment must also be made into stations.
I call on the Gauteng Legislature portfolio committee to visit Pretoria and other Metrorail stations to determine how widespread the problems are and to what extent passenger flow affects their safety and fare dodging. I will write to the chairperson of the committee to request that we undertake such investigations without delay.