Reports suggests that about 1500 commuters used trains during the Western Cape’s 3-day trial service last week.
Metrorail’s spokesperson Riana Scott said the trial phase preceded today’s gradual resumption of a limited service and stress-tested operational and contingency measures.
“Some changes were made to reflect current operating conditions and to increase predictability.”
In line with level 3 regulations, the limited service operates from Mondays to Fridays from 6am to 5pm. Trains depart around every 40 minutes during weekdays from platforms 1-6 at Cape Town Station.
Scott said on Saturdays, seven trains operate between 6.30am and 7pm in both directions. She said the train service would no longer operate on Sundays, adding that trains would stop at 13 train stations.
She said trains could accommodate 350 to 400 commuters, with physical distance requirements limiting commuter numbers to about 50 per carriage.
“Commuters should use dedicated exits and entries at stations and in train carriages. To ensure compliance, access to stations and platforms is strictly limited,” Scott said.
She said initially single tickets would be sold with allocations of tickets on sale at the various stations. Sold out notices were displayed as soon as tickets were sold out.
“No monthly tickets will be on sale until further notice. Commuters are advised to arrive at least 20 minutes earlier to allow for sanitising before buying a ticket and to have the correct fare amount to minimise handling of cash.”
Scott said with roughly 40% of Metrorail employees able to resume work under alert level 3 regulations, priority was given to phase in safety-critical, engineering, technical and key operational staff first.
United Commuters Voice spokesperson Joao Jardim said last week went well. “There were some hiccups but it seems commuters adhered to the rules.”
Jardim said this week might be the same. Hopefully, Metrorail would continue to apply the lessons learnt and when the other corridors open they would apply the strategies to ensure the continued safety of commuters.
Metrorail acting regional manager Raymond Maseko said most of the operational difficulties and constraints experienced pre-lockdown were still present.
“In fact, during lockdown an additional phenomenon raised its head. Not only did metal theft and vandalism continue, but offices, depots and staff facilities were pilfered and electronic infrastructure tampered with.”
Maseko said it was anticipated, all things being equal, to start increasing the south and Cape Flats services later this month with the north following suit in August.