Filthy ride

June Cox, Plumstead

On Monday February 4, travelling from Plumstead to Cape Town, on train number 0136 which arrived in Cape Town at about 8.38am, commuters experienced faeces on the train.

This had happened once before and Metrorail confirmed that trains are cleaned manually twice daily and sent through the washing bays every week.

I normally travel in the second carriage but the second carriage was packed. Because of the stench I realised commuters probably got out and went to the second carriage. I stood near the door all the way from Plumstead to Cape Town just to avoid the stench.

The trains are not only filthy but the seats are worn and some stripped. How unhygienic! Does Metrorail no longer have respect for commuters?

I feel so embarrassed, especially when we have tourists travelling on our trains.

Come on Metrorail, do Cape Town proud, think of the tourist who also uses our public transport.

Riana Scott of Metrorail responds: We regret Ms Cox’s unsavoury experience on one of our trains. We acknowledge that the fleet is old and resources constrained, but neither is an excuse for dirty and unsanitary carriages. We thank her for bringing this to our attention and will investigate how corrective processes can be implemented to improve quality checks, prevent recurrence and ensure cleanliness.

The obsolete infrastructure and fleet is being addressed through the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s national modernisation programme over the next decade. Unfortunately it is not a quick fix but an incremental phasing out of old and in with new.

Quinton Summers, Heathfield

I once again would like to draw your attention to the filth that is left to pile up on the Galway Road-Heathfield side of the station.

Besides the filth, it stinks of human excrement because several of those passing by and the daily loiterers defecate and urinate behind the station in full view from my bathroom and my daughter’s bedroom window.

Can you assist in getting the station cleaned up on a regular basis please?

Also, it might be a worthy cause to get the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to demolish or fence off that outbuilding behind the station, which is part of the reason for many of the bad things happening there.

This morning I discovered a whole family living in a cardboard box behind the station. Looks like a single mom and two toddlers and a man.

It was left to me to alert the station security and ticket office who acted surprised at this latest development.

This is not good at all.

Metrorail’s Riana Scott responds: As stated before, available resources permit vegetation control and clearing of rail reserves twice per annum under favourable weather conditions. These contracts are not able to include “touch ups” in between clearing cycles. Where funding proves insufficient for the extent of the need, our various customer-services managers are encouraged to collaborate with local stakeholders to organise clean-up initiatives in their respective areas. I am copying Heathfield station manager Porcha Gordon to investigate.

We continue to remove vagrants on a rotational basis from scores of stations. With the assistance of SAPS, arrests are made but as people are released soon afterwards it presents a brief respite and is not sustainable.

The disposal/demolition of state assets (including structures) needs to happen in accordance with certain process and permissions.

I have alerted Prasa’s regional property management division to investigate.

Ward councillor Carol Bew also responds: The matter has been addressed with the line department as is the process (reference number 9106575224).

Residents can become active citizens by logging a simple service delivery request by sending an SMS to 31220 for electricity technical faults and 31373 for water technical faults or https// can also call 086 010 3089. This would serve not only themselves but the broader community.

The City’s electronic reporting system will provide residents with a reference number so they can track the progress of the request that they have logged. Residents can use the mobi site to report faults such as bush clearing needed, mowing, potholes, water leaks, electricity failures and illegal dumping, among other service requests.