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The Cape Chamber welcomes the High Court bid to resolve Cape Town’s commuter rail impasse

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the High Court bid to resolve Cape Town’s commuter rail impasse. It is however hugely disappointing that, after years of stalemate, Court action is required to compel the relevant transport authorities to do their jobs.

The current Court application aims to secure a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, and National Government. Finalisation of an SLA has proved elusive despite the City’s repeated attempts to do so. The City hopes an SLA will at least bolster efforts to hold Prasa accountable for the state of the local commuter rail service. In the long term the City hopes to take charge of its own passenger rail services, but this requires the function to be devolved from National Government to Local Government level.

The Cape Chamber supports the City’s efforts to rejuvenate Cape Town’s commuter rail service, a move that would provide much-needed impetus for the regional economy. Commuter rail provides a low-cost alternative for commuters at a time of dwindling disposable income. It also provides an alternative to the bus and taxi services.

Cape Town’s commuter rail service has been in decline for years, aggravated by vandalism and security challenges. Illegal occupation of a large section of the central line during Covid lockdown effectively shut down a vital transport node.

As much as we appreciate Prasa’s efforts to tackle these challenges, we believe devolution is long overdue and in the best interests of long-suffering commuters.

A failure to provide reliable transport is a systemic failure that undermines vital efforts to get our economy back on track. 

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