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    Chaotic morning for commuters after Eskom switches off power to Metrorail trains


    September 27, 2022 - Jonisayi Maromo

     

      Pretoria – Thousands of rail commuters in some corridors in Pretoria were left stranded on Tuesday morning after struggling power utility Eskom switched off electricity to the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) Metrorail services.

      “The trains were resigned to their stations because Prasa did not pay their electricity bill resulting in Eskom cutting their power. Commuters dependent on this crucial public transport daily were left in the lurch and forced to make alternate arrangements,” said Fred Nel, a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature and DA’s Gauteng spokesperson on Roads and Transport.

      “As a result, most of the commuters using rail on a daily basis had to arrive at work late or not at all if they were not able to afford alternatives.

      “The Mabopane-Pretoria, Saulsville-Pretoria and Pienaarspoort-Pretoria service has been affected by this move. One can only blame bad management on the side of Prasa for not settling their bill on time, or at least entering talks with Eskom to keep the electricity on,” said Nel.

      He said Prasa’s infrastructure became exposed to risk during the period.

      “During the Covid-19 lockdown period Metrorail infrastructure was pillaged and each time the electricity is cut due to load shedding or other events like credit control, a window of opportunity opens for criminals to steal electrical cables and other components,” said Nel.

      Before midday, Metrorail in Gauteng said it has resumed some train services.

      “Gauteng Metrorail announces train service resumption for Pienaarspoort and Saulsville following the temporary suspension of service due to power outages. A train shuttle service will be operational immediately to transport loyal commuters,” said Gauteng Metrorail spokesperson Tony Games.

      He said the full train schedule will be introduced for the afternoon peak period.

      Metrorail said the train from Saulsville to Pretoria CBD is now operational, as well as the train from Pienaarspoort to Pretoria CBD.

      “Currently, only the Mabopane train service is still affected by the power outage and technical teams from both Prasa and Eskom are working on speedily resolving the matter,” said Games.

      “Metrorail will announce the train service resumption for Mabopane in due course. Commuters are therefore encouraged to make their own alternative arrangements where necessary.

      “Metrorail management regrets and apologises for the inconvenience and commits to work on prioritising the needs of commuters. Management thanks all commuters from the affected lines for their patients and understanding,” said Games.

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