Train services in Gqeberha and East London in the Eastern Cape have resumed. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) halted this service in January because of network breakdowns due to cable theft and vandalism.
Prasa says it will now use diesel locomotives. The resumption of this service comes as a relief to commuters who are suffering the impact of the high fuel price.
The train remains the cheapest mode of transport; the commuters say they will now save money:
“We are happy. I am happy because I was using Uber from Redhouse to town every day there is no transport sometimes we hitchhike. I am happy we will save.”
“The moment we were using taxi we were using a lot of money, it was costing us. We were suffering when we were waiting for trains. Now for my side, I’m happy because we’re going to save now, we are using cheap transport as you can see.”
“We are so proud as commuters for Prasa for bringing transport back and in terms of the bus fare I would say it’s very affordable m so glad the trains are back I so wish they will keep with us in the journey.”
Prasa says vandalism and cable theft cost them millions.
“The region has lost approximately 8 million in revenue collection. Prasa security together with Transnet and railways SAPS are working together to curb cable theft and vandalism of rail infrastructure, in addition, Prasa security has a mobile team doing patrols day and night also backed by railway SAPS. We will gradually return to full operation and will consider service demand and availability of locomotives,” says Mimi Katsio, provincial spokesperson.