Prasa must compensate commuters for bad service - #UniteBehind

The #UniteBehind coalition is encouraging commuters to sign a petition demanding compensation from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) for their apparent shoddy service.

#UniteBehind organiser Zukiswa Vuka said the campaign to "ease the burden of train fares" has been running for two months. The petition has already garnered 900 signatures.

"Commuters are spending money on tickets and get nothing in return. Service is appalling. Commuters are travelling long distances and the trains are usually cancelled or delayed," she said.

"These people then have to make use of expensive alternative transport. Prasa must compensate the commuters by either allowing them to use their September tickets in October or compensating them for their tickets."

A statement on the coalition's Facebook page asserts that poor and working-class commuters cannot afford to invest in a monthly ticket for a train service that "operates according to arbitrary and uncertain schedules".

"According to Metrorail's own statistics, on average more than half of all trains are late in Cape Town, rising to 90% of trains on certain lines at times. An average of 17% of all trains are cancelled, which can rise to 30% at times," the statement said.

Commuters have experienced increased delays over the past few months. A slew of arson attacks on the trains may have also contributed to the poor service.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said that the regional branch "does not have a mandate to act in isolation of its principals".

"The extension of ticket validity and other fare concessions can only be granted with ministerial approval," she said.

Vuka said the coalition was planning to organise mass action on October 1.

"We will write a letter, a formal call to action to the Minister of Transport. On October 1, we will deliver the petition to him."

Do you use @CapeTownTrains? Do you get the service that you pay for? Lend us your voice, help us #FixOurTrains! Sign our petition, and send it to us, via WhatsApp, email, Twitter or Facebook. We cannot afford these delayed and cancelled trains! #FairFares #DelayRepay

— UniteBehind (@UniteBehind) September 4, 2018