If the steep price of electricity and petrol wasn’t enough for consumers to deal with, now Metrorail commuters will fork out more for train fare. The rail company on Friday announced its intention to increase train fares country wide on July 1st 2015. In the Western Cape, the annual fare increase ups the cost of single tickets between 0.50 cents and R1.00, weeklies between R1.00 – R2.00 and monthlies between R2.00 – R38.00; depending on travel zone and class.
Regional manager Richard Walker said the increase is unavoidable.
“The cost of operating the current service has burgeoned – major cost drivers like electricity and safety-critical components have increased far beyond the rate of inflation,” he said.
Old assets well beyond design life, obsolete technology and an extensive open system susceptible to vandalism, land invasion, service protests and vagrancy all contribute to an extra-ordinary maintenance burden.
Walker said without the fare increase to sustain current service levels, the region would have to seriously consider rationalising services. Key stakeholders have already been appraised of the proposed fare increase.
Walker confirmed the pro-poor pricing strategy favours the majority of loyal train users and provides cost saver options in weekly and monthly ticket prices.
“For instance Metro users pay for only 6.5 trips per week but have the option of 14 trips including the weekends. Similarly Metro monthly tickets are priced for 3.1 weeks travel but allow the holder to travel for 4.”
He said the fare increase levied “is sensitive to prevailing social-economic factors in the region” and ensures that rail, as backbone of the region’s public transport system, “remains the most affordable mode of public transport”.
“The increase will only add 6.5% additional revenue to the region’s coffers; the balance of the operational cost would be funded through further internal efficiencies and cost savings.”