SA govt wants cities to control trains

Jeremy Cronin
Jeremy Cronin
South Africa's deputy minister of transport, Jeremy Cronin, a member of the Communist Party

The government is considering handing control of passenger train services from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to cities, Beeld newspaper reported on Monday.

Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said the government wanted cities to develop programs for a comprehensive transport system, taking into account buses, trains, minibus taxis and other means of transport.

“Our cities are expanding at an ever accelerating pace. The government expects that by 2030, 70 percent of South Africans will be living in cities, and it is therefore important to develop systems that can keep pace with this level of growth,” Cronin was quoted as saying.

Public transport should be integrated with the development of settlements and industries. Currently, cities were responsible for city planning, but had no control over metro train services, which complicated co-ordination. Cronin said Metrorail passenger services formed an integral part of city infrastructure.

Thus far, Cape Town’s and Durban’s systems looked as though they would be the easiest to transfer from Metrorail to city authorities. The government was still discussing the financial and logistical details with Prasa, Cronin said. – Sapa