An organisation with a vested interest in public transport safety is set to meet with Metrorail on Tuesday to address concerns around inadequate security on carriages and at stations. This comes amidst an increase in train-related crimes which has left many commuters feeling vulnerable, and has led to further pressure on a rail company already facing criticism for waning quality of service.
The Public Transport Voice (PTV) are set to level several recommendations to Metrorail during the meeting, include that of improved communication with commuters, retraining of security personnel, improvement of train infrastructure, and the accessibility of help desks at stations.
Chairperson, Zingisani Nkanjeni said it was vital Metrorail take accountability for the safety of its passengers. Likewise, it was important the public stand up and express their concerns with the level of security they have been afforded.
“One of the things we think is critical is that we must have more security personnel. SAPS, private security companies and Metrorail must find ways of working together,” he suggested.
In addition to an increase in police and private security visibility, PTV are also seeking to have the latter undergo proper training to ensure they are able to handle situations of criminal activity better.
Another area which PTV has marked as of critical importance is the safety of female commuters. Nkanjeni said women were generally more vulnerable compared to their male counter parts, often facing sexual harassment inside stations and carriages.
“As women they are in a more vulnerable space to get robbed, mugged and even raped. Even men can encounter these problems, but at least they can fight back,” he stated.
Whilst Metrorail has been forced to face the brunt of public anger over the state of train security, Nkanjeni suggested government also had a vital role to play in securing the safety of passengers. He claimed that little was being done from governments side towards addressing pertinent rail transport issues.
While PTV have reportedly written to Minister of Transport, Dipou Peters in July asking for intervention on issues faced by Metrorail and Prasa, they have yet to receive any response. VOC