Prasa’s Covid-19 plan could fall off track as limited trains mean crowding

Crowded train station. Photo: Twitter/@ekasientreprene

Prasa challenges include stolen train tracks, looted cables and unprecedented vandalism, which may be some of the reasons Prasa will be operating under limited capacity.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is in Pretoria, at the Wolmerton Depot in Pretoria to inspect Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa) readiness to resume activities, come July 1.

Prasa, alongside Mbalula, confirmed that rail services would resume from Wednesday under Level 3 of the lockdown regulations.

Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa, while confirming the resumption of some train services on Wednesday, stressed that those who used taxis or buses should continue using them as trains were expected to be limited.

“People must consider other modes of transport.

“It’s important for us to remind commuters that as a result of the lockdown regulations, the trains won’t be able to take the usual number of people.”

While Mbalula was given a tour on the state of readiness of Prasa trains, questions on if government is aware of the number of people expected to flock to the limited train services this week, still need to be addressed.

Trains have been specially marked with signs indicating social distancing metres. It is understood that train coaches will now carry 42 passengers, as opposed to the normal 420 passengers.

Every commuter boarding trains is expected to wear a mask and an isolation room is on standby for any eventuality. Two ticket windows, with salespeople, will have ready cleaners who will clean after every ticket sale.

Platform marshals will also be roped in to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.

Prasa, although apparently ready to take on the challenge on Wednesday, has to face massive infrastructure damage challenges in several areas around the county.

These challenges include stolen train tracks, looted cables and unprecedented vandalism, which may be some of the reason Prasa may be operating at limited capacity.

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