Today's Labour News

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metrorail thumb medium90 92Engineering News reports that speaking at a Transport Forum event in Pretoria last week, Professor Stephan Krygsman of Stellenbosch University’s Department of Logistics (Transport Economics) said SA had a “completely dysfunctional" passenger rail system.  

He added:  “The fact that we cannot get a rail system working in this country is probably our biggest [transport] problem.  If we can solve that, we can solve a lot of problems.”  Economist Mike Schűssler noted that 55-million people used the train system a month in SA in 2009, but, even with the addition of the Gautrain in 2010, this had now dropped to 20-million people a month.  He said there were various reasons for this, including crime and arson.  Buses have picked up around two- to three-million of the passengers who have departed the rail system.  The options available to the rest of the commuters included walking, cycling, taking a minibus taxi or buying a car – adding to congestion on the road.  Krygsman pointed out that the poor were carrying the burden for the failure of the rail system:  “Poor people use [Metro]rail.  They spend a certain amount of their income to get to work.  If they get bumped to the next mode, they spent an even more excessive amount of their income on transport.”

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