The City of Cape Town has confirmed the date for the start of the feasibility study to take over the train services in the city.

The study will commence on 1 July 2022 and the municipality says it will take place  “with stipulated deadlines, deliverables, regular feedback and reporting to the City on the progress of the work.”

Mayor Geordin-Hill Lewis says: “The study will focus on an approach that is feasible, incremental, and structured. Taking over passenger rail from the National Government is a huge undertaking.”

“We must fully understand what this entails, especially when it comes to the costs as passenger rail in Cape Town has imploded to a level where it is barely functioning. The whole system – from the planning to the operations and management – will need to be overhauled so that it can be the backbone of public transport and the study will assist us in how to approach this takeover,” he adds.

The City of Cape Town says the state of the rail network in the city is dire: ” The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) has neglected passenger rail for decades. A lack of investment, maintenance, vandalism and crime have led to a loss of assets, illegal occupation of rail reserves, and a collapse of most services. In 1995 the network of 270km was served by 95 train sets, by December 2019 there were 44 sets in operation. The central line, the most popular and needed line serving the metro-south east, is not operating.”

More detail about the study has also been given. The feasibility study aims to:

  • Develop a feasible, incremental and structured approach for an improved passenger rail service in terms of planning, operations, and management.
  • Identify and evaluate financing mechanisms for the provision of operations and capital investment.
  • Determine the financial implications for the restoration and sustainability of passenger rail services.
  • The team undertaking the study consists of experts in rail operations and rail engineering; project management; transport planning; strategists in the rail business, facilities and asset management; a transport economist; a legal specialist, and a rail safety and security specialist.

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas says: “A critical component is the financial viability of the City taking over passenger rail, and our ability to afford and maintain the system. Budget allocation and subsidisation will require detailed and ongoing engagement with the National Department of Transport and the Treasury.”

In a statement Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he will have the final say as to who operates the train service in Cape Town if not PRASA. “The White Paper on National Rail Policy, recently approved by Cabinet acknowledges the importance of devolving public transport functions to the lowest level of government. To this end, the Policy requires the development and approval of a Devolution Strategy for Commuter Rail to guide the assignment of the commuter rail function at municipal level,” said Mbalula.

He added: “The National Land Transport Act of 2009 (NLTA) provides for service level planning by municipalities for passenger rail service on a corridor basis. The law imposes a number of obligations on a municipality in integrating passenger rail planning in its integrated public transport networks.”

 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says the Drivers Licence Card Machine has been fixed and is in operation. In a tweet, he added that staff are working day and night to ensure the backlog in the issuing of drivers licences has been cleared.

Earlier this month it was reported that the machine was taken to Germany for repairs and that the country only had one driver’s licence printer to ensure corruption was prevented.

Previously, Mbalula indicated that the machine would be repaired by the end of March 2022. The Driving Licence Card Account (DLCA) is responsible for the production of the card licences. The machine reportedly broke down in November 2021, and it was estimated that more than half a million South Africans were then forced to get a temporary drivers licence.

The penalty for driving with an expired licence was waived since the machine broke down and it was explained that there is only one machine in the country to prevent corruption and licence fraud

At the same Mbalula said that there are plans to replace the one machine with several others that have upgraded security features that will prevent fraudulent duplications of drivers licences.

The Western Cape has recorded a 55.6% percent increase in road accident deaths this past festive season.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released the 2021 Festive Season Road Statistics yesterday and says the province, over the 2021 holiday season, recorded 207 road deaths.

This is an increase from the 133 deaths reported in the 2020 festive season.

The Minister says drunken-driving and speeding played a significant role in this increase in fatalities.

Read the Minister’s full statement here.

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A total of 1 685 fatalities were recorded on the country’s roads over the 2021 festive season.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released the 2021 Festive Season Road Statistics this morning.

He says this is a 14% increase on the previous year’s festive season road fatalities.

Mbalula says authorities recorded an increase in road fatalities in seven of the country’s provinces.

Read the Minister’s full statement here.

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has committed R7 billion to be invested in improving train services.

The Minister says PRASA in the Western Cape has so far been able to re-establish 5 of the Mother City’s largest train services.

The Southern Line, the Retreat to Fish Hoek service and the Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town services have been in operation since last year.

Mbalula says the Cape Town to Bellvile and Cape Town via Pinelands railway service should be operational again by March.

Get the latest updates here.

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