Johannesburg – Prasa says it has improved peak on-time performance to 60% in the mornings, from 49% eight weeks ago.
The rail network’s chief strategy officer Dr Sipho Sithole said afternoon peak on-time performance across the country has improved from 55% to 63%.
“This is the most important times of the day when most people are trying to get to work or going home. It is therefore important that trains arrive on time during those times,” Sithole said.
He added that other improvements include improving the number of people paying for Prasa services in one region in Pretoria, where new trains sets are being used, from 39% to 91%.
“The railway lines under temporary speed restriction because of infrastructure problems, such as lack of electronic signalling, have also declined from 167km to 138km. Prasa is now on track to have around 94km of railways under temporary restriction by the end of December,” Sithole said.
He added that the entity has stepped up procurement and repairs on trains, and is on track to have 191 trainsets by March 2020. “The biggest obstacle is the continued vandalism of railways, stealing of cables and people using our services for free,” he said.
To address this, he said Prasa plans to spend around R6.5 billion over three years to fence railway lines in urban areas with concrete blocks.
“When the lines have been fenced, revenue will increase by R4.6 billion as commuters will no longer be able to jump off before stations, and will have to buy tickets. That also means less vandalism, which will reduce delays caused by signalling cables being stolen. We will then start recovering all the passengers we’ve lost over the years, and make rail the transport of choice,” Sithole said.