/ 13 February 2012

Cities could take over passenger train management

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

Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said the government wanted cities to develop programmes 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% 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 coordination. Cronin said Metrorail passenger services formed an integral part of city infrastructure.

Thus far, the systems in Cape Town and Durban seemed to 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