Metrorail says it is battling with widespread “fare invasion” as hundreds of people try to commute on trains without paying for tickets.
The state owned public transport operator also said that some of the people were refusing to surrender old invalid tickets and buy new ones for their travel.
The rail network, which transports several thousands of people daily across the peninsula, said it was overwhelmed with complaints from paying Metro-plus commuters over the “invasion of their coaches”.
It said the commuters wanted action taken against transgressors regardless of their age.
This comes after West Cape News was last week told that that on two separate incidents, scores of people travelling without tickets were detained at stations along the Bellville-Cape Town route.
Metrorail regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said a fine of R40 was leveled against those who did not have valid tickets, and about 185 offenders were prosecuted every month for rail-related crimes.
However, he pointed out that through various “”revenue enhancement strategies” such as intensified ticket verification through Employee Task Teams and Stop & Detrain Actions, they had netted R105m to date, a 26.9% improvement on the last financial year.
He noted that many learners continued to travel without valid tickets with impunity and were unable to pay up the penalty when caught.
“I reiterate that parents must impress upon their children to be responsible rail users to ensure that they are not off-loaded during special actions,” said Swartz.
‘We (Metrorail) cannot be held responsible for kids arriving late at school due to negligence on their part, our children must have the discipline to arrive in time and with a valid ticket.”
He called on commuters to “act responsibly,” highlighting that “rights without responsibilities will lead to anarchy and looting”.
He suggested that Metrorail was seen as a soft target as “no one goes to MyCiTi or South African Airways (SAA) and demands a free ride, yet we deal with that everyday.
“Our own fee paying commuters are calling on us to clamp down on fare evasion, regardless of the age of the offenders”.
Swartz attributed the presence of top management at stations during morning and afternoon peaks as well as the establishment of a Service Task Team to improved fare recovery.
He admitted that some customers still refuse to surrender old tickets and try to travel without valid tickets.
He said such commuters failed to realize that a valid ticket was “their insurance”.
While Metrorail could complain about fare invasion, in several reports in the past, commuters have complained about train delays, overcrowding in certain routes and well as a lack of safety, among other issues. –Francis Hweshe