Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has on Thursday visited a train control cabin in Elseburg, Germiston as part of his ministerial War Room on PRASA launch.
In response to the number of deadly train crashes, the minister announced War Room during his department budget vote.
Speaking at the launch Mbalula said, “The War Room we are unveiling today will be a game changer through which we will aggressively improve the quality of our passenger rail service.”The War Room will focus on 3 areas: The first is Service Recovery, paying particular attention on rolling stock availability and reliability, infrastructure availability and reliability and train performance.
The War Room will monitor trains and improve on-time arrivals of Shosholoza Meyl to above 50%, currently at 3%. Shosholoza Meyl has been an important enabler of those who travel from far-flung and rural Provinces to access work opportunities and indeed business prospects in urban centres for many decades.
The Ministerial War Room will guide and monitor interventions on a weekly basis and will continue to exist until the end of the 2019/20 financial year. The defined targets must be realized by 31 December 2019, and sustained beyond this date.
The department’s spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine says this is part of modernising Prasa’s Modernisation programme. She says R170-million has been set aside to replace the old trains.
“One of the objectives is service recovery – to make sure that we pay attention to rolling stock availability and reliability, infrastructure availability, the train’s performance, making sure that the trains arrive on time, making sure that we have safety and security. Therefore, safety and security management is quite important. People need to know that when they get on a train they will get to their destination without any crashes and without any collision.”