Angry commuters went on a violent rampage at the Cape Town train station on Friday evening after they were stranded due to major disruptions on several lines. There were widespread cancellations and delays at the train station due to shortage of trains.
We will recall that a Cape Town Train Station regional manager, Richard Walker had earlier announced that the station was “under siege”, following the torching of four carriages in the Kraaifontein staging yard shortly after midnight‚ arson at an apparatus cage in Philippi and cable theft in Salt River. And that last Saturday two adjoining trains were set alight at same train station.
He [Walker] had however declared an “open warfare” between the unknown criminals and Metrorail in the Western Cape.
Moving on, after Metrorail closed its ticket offices, the disgruntled train commuters were seen demanding that the train station arrange alternative transport to take them home because trains are not operational. Some of them expressed fear that they may likely sleep in the station as no functional train was available to help them out.
Several trains on the northern and central lines were cancelled on Friday morning and Metrorail tried to calm down the impatience commuters by telling them that delays could be just more than an hour, but angrily commuters revolted, saying they had waited for at least two hours.
Speaking at the station, a resident at Bishop Lavis, Hershall Arnolds, said he needs to get home by 7pm, expressing fears that he could be stranded in the station.
“We haven’t been at home yet and they are probably wondering why we are not home. I need to get home by 7pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, a worker at the Metrorail, Riana Scott, revealed that negotiations are underway. The worker won’t comment further.
“They are still busy with negotiations and I am not privy to that. I’m trying to just help people to get home as soon as possible so we don’t have people stuck at the Cape Town station,” Scott said.
He added that illegal strikers had intimidated staff and circulated incendiary propaganda He thundered that “It is time to rid the region of criminals who masquerade as employees.”
Feedback From Cape Town Train Station
Meanwhile, advisory messages displayed on Metrorail’s mobi website reads, “A limited afternoon train service due to operational constraints. Anticipated delays of 60+ minutes can be expected. Passengers are advised to make use of their own alternative transport while we are trying to restore the service.”
Another angry commuter at Observatory station alleged thus, “I have a very funny feeling that the workers who have been prevented from protesting are behind the vandalism that took place.
This is becoming ridiculous and I don’t understand why I have to pay to make use of alternative transport. This is Metrorail’s problem‚ they need to either provide alternative transport or reimburse the commuters for their expenses. When will Metrorail be held accountable for their lack of service to the community?”