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Call on Minister Nzimande to step up as Regulator may revoke PRASA operating permit<p>​​I am very concerned about reports that the Railway Safety Regulator has issued a notice of its intention to revoke the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s operating permit. </p><p>This could result in a nationwide shutdown of Metrorail operations.</p><p>This move comes in response to the collision between two trains in Gauteng this week, and the poor and failing state of Metrorail services in general.</p><p>The regulator is required to ensure that it is safe for commuters to use the urban rail service. The drastic decision to issue a notice to revoke PRASA’s operating permit on the grounds of safety concerns is a clear indication of the state of the service.</p><p>Shutting down the most important mode of public transport is not a decision that would be taken easily. Grinding rail commuting to a halt will impact millions of South Africans.</p><p>In Cape Town alone, several hundred thousand passenger trips are made daily on Metrorail despite the poor and unreliable conditions under which our commuters and residents travel. It is for precisely these reasons that I called on the Minister of Transport, Mr Blade Nzimande, to declare an emergency with regard to rail services. I was not ‘politicking’ as he has accused me of doing.</p><p>I am calling again on Minister Nzimande to do something.</p><p>The service in Cape Town requires urgent intervention to improve the rolling stock to at least 88 full train sets. The carriages that have been damaged need to be repaired and brought back into service urgently.</p><p>The relentless attacks on the service and infrastructure need to be brought to an end and we need to establish a safe, stable, and reliable commuter rail service.</p><p>My call on the Minister for him to consider the powers he has to bring an emergency response is clearly required. Emergency funds and fast tracking procurement for critical services is what is needed. It is the appropriate response to the scale and urgency of the problem.</p><p>We need the fastest mechanism to implement effective changes with immediate effect.</p><p>Pointing to the long-promised rail modernisation project that is underway is not an appropriate response to the current state of the service that requires immediate intervention.</p><p>If the rail regulator revokes PRASA’s safety permit it would force PRASA to cease all Metrorail services across the country. The impact on rail commuters will be dire as rail is the most affordable mode of transportation for the urban poor.</p><p>This will also collapse our road network due to congestion, and will have a severe impact on our local economy if people are unable to get to and from work.</p><p>The City and the Provincial Government are assisting PRASA to stabilise the Cape Town service by jointly funding a dedicated Rail Enforcement Unit with PRASA. The unit will be operational later this month. This is a unique and unprecedented intervention by two spheres of government which have no direct role or control over the rail function. We took these steps because rail commuters are our residents.</p><p>I want Minister Nzimande to act with the same degree of care and urgency.</p><p>I have had no formal confirmation of the Rail Safety Regulator’s intention as yet. Whatever the regulator’s decision, the service requires urgent intervention from Minister Nzimande.</p><p>I am asking him to step up.</p><p><b>End</b></p>2018-10-05T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7;L0|#0904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7|StatementsGP0|#ffcdd6df-7b0a-46df-baa0-cc9fb98b29b6;L0|#0ffcdd6df-7b0a-46df-baa0-cc9fb98b29b6|Transport and Urban Development Authority;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#386e6d11-1c73-4d63-9956-3cc3eab4415f;L0|#0386e6d11-1c73-4d63-9956-3cc3eab4415f|public transport;GP0|#2c635718-4b0b-4e58-87c0-bab3121855f4;L0|#02c635718-4b0b-4e58-87c0-bab3121855f4|Metrorail1

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