Passenger rail numbers in Cape Town have fallen by 30% over the past two years, meaning that almost 3 million fewer rail journeys have taken place during the 2016/17 year than in previous years.
The City of Cape Town says the ailing service is in desperate need of help and the city believes that it is the solution.
It wants to take over the management of the commuter rail service in the Mother City.
But Congress of South African Trade Unions’ Tony Ehrenreich says this is nothing more but a political ploy.
“Cosatu believes that anything that can be done to assist Metrorail should be welcomed, but the City of Cape Town is playing politics with our people’s lives. The MyCiTi buses, they did it to the West Coast where the wealthier community lives and forgot about the Cape Flats where people desperately need public transport.”
By April 2017, Metrorail was short of 20 train sets, the service was operating on 68 sets as opposed to the 88 train sets required to run an efficient service.
Metrorail’s data confirms that thousands of commuters have been displaced to road-based transport - be it private vehicles, minibus-taxis or buses - over the past two years.
The city says this could impact the economy, adding that a complete breakdown would be catastrophic for the city, for residents, and commuters who are already subjected to constant peak-hour grid-lock on the congested road network.