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africa|financial|rail|service|services|system|transport

Five more Western Cape corridors targeted for recovery – PRASA

PRASA's new blue trains – Isitimela Sabantu

Hishaam Emeran

31st August 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) says it has, to date, recovered eight lines in the Western Cape following the complete collapse of service during the Covid-19-pandemic.

Six of the lines in the Western Cape are operating using the new blue electric motor units, otherwise known as Isitimela Sabantu.

Trains are now running on the Central, Southern and Northern Corridors, stopping at 88 stations out of 121 stations in the province.

Five corridors in the Western Cape have been earmarked for recovery in this financial year, namely Nyanga to Philippi; Philippi to Chris Hani; Philippi to Kapteinsklip; Bellville to Strand; and Cape Town to Muldersvlei.

“We are making steady progress in recovering these lines…as part of a wider strategy to improve passenger rail services across South Africa and make rail a safe, reliable, and affordable mode of transport,” says PRASA.

The plans to improve passenger train services for the City of Cape Town include increasing the number of trains running on the rail network; improving the frequency of trains through the recovery of the signalling system; and upgrading the train stations on the affected routes.

The latest Statistics South Africa Land Transport survey shows continued strong demand for passenger rail transport, notes the agency.

According to the latest survey, released on August 21, the year-on-year demand for passenger rail services, albeit from a low base, has increased by 215% year-on-year. 

PRASA group CEO Hishaam Emeran notes that passenger trips on Cape Town’s lines have risen 200% since the beginning of the year.

He says the agency has seen a sharp increase in passengers this year, but adds that the numbers were far from where they should be.

PRASA used to transport 750 000 passengers a day, with this figure currently at 50 000 trips a day, he says.

Part of the problem was that the trains were only running every 45 minutes to an hour during the peak period. 

The goal was to reduce this to between five and 15 minutes, through improved signalling.

PRASA currently makes use of manual authorisation.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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