Premier Alan Winde cautiously welcomes Metrorail’s partial resumption of the train service between Eerste River and Bellville in Cape Town this morning.
The service has been suspended since the Covid-19 national state of disaster was implemented in 2020. According to Metrorail, services would have resumed in December 2022 but were delayed due to “environmental issues”.
Today’s reintroduction of the service will see the train depart from Bellville station, stopping at Kuils River, Blackheath, Meltonrose, and Eerste River stations.
The Premier said, “While this much-needed train service is good news for the residents along this line and the economy of the Western Cape. I am, however, seriously concerned about the impact of loadshedding in keeping the service running and that the service still needs to stop at a number of other stations before we can confidently say that the line is back up and fully running.”
The poor state of rail transport in the province remains an important priority for all spheres of the Western Cape Government he added.
“Fixing rail and restoring all services remains a top priority as trains were once the backbone of public transport in the Cape Metro and the province, transporting goods and people while enhancing economic opportunities. Transport is a disproportionately large part of households’ spend. Providing affordable and reliable public transport is not only an economic imperative but is also critical to rebuilding the social fabric of our society. Apartheid spatial planning segregated our cities and public transport is a key way in which we can rebuild our communities and break down those divisions” the Premier stressed.
The Premier continued, “The Western Cape’s Energy Council – which I chair – remains committed to looking at all options to stabilise and increase alternative power generation in our province to further our economic recovery, protect small businesses, and help our citizens.
He concluded, “The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and the National Department of Transport must do everything possible to get all train services back on track so that commuters can once again rely on rail transport to get to work, school and amenities safely and on time. I urge them to work flat out to fully reopen this rail service.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic Of South Africa: Western Cape Provincial Government.