LATER TRAINS FOR SOUTH PENINSULA

Monday 28 March 2011 saw the introduction of an extended commuter train service between Cape Town and Simon’s Town in the Scenic South. The existing afternoon services have been supplemented with three additional trains departing from Cape Town Station.

South bound commuters now have the flexibility of twenty-one trains leaving the city between 16:10 and 21:10. Twenty of these afternoon trains stop at Retreat, eighteen stop at Fish Hoek and nine operate as far as Simon’s Town. The trains will stop at all stations en route.

The pilot is one of several collaborative initiatives between public transport partners Metrorail, the Provincial Ministry of Transport & Public Works and the City of Cape Town’s Directorate for Transport, Roads & Storm Water to improve public transport provision.  

Metrorail’s Regional Manager Lindelo Matya said:  ‘We are confident that the extended hours will find favour with our existing customers’. He added: ‘The convenience and affordability of the later service is aimed at attracting new markets from within the CBD.’

The City of Cape Town will extend the operational hours of security guards at 10 park-and-rides along the Southern rail line, to coincide with Metrorail’s extended operational hours. These park & ride facilities include Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Lakeside, Retreat, Heathfield, Diep River, Plumstead, Kenilworth and Claremont.

The benefits of the security guards at park-and-rides and the extended commuter train service include reducing congestion and the pollution associated with motor vehicles, reducing the public’s dependency on private vehicles, reducing time spent traveling each day, as well as a significant saving in travelling costs”, said Councillor Elizabeth Thompson, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Major Projects. Accordingly the City of Cape Town will provide security guards at ten park-and-rides along this line until 30 minutes after the last train has left the particular station” said Cllr. Thompson.

The MEC for Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle assured commuters that they have put measures in place to make it safe for commuters to use this service. “I urge all motorists to make full use of these extended services.  Those who work late now have the opportunity to use safe, reliable and affordable train services that suit their unique work schedules.  We have put in place strong safety and security measures to safeguard the park and ride facilities and ensure that the safety of commuters is not at risk during train trips”. “The re-introduction of the extended services for Simon’s Town is our first attempt to revive the late night train service that was once a common feature of our public transport system in the past.”

The extended rail operational hours now provide Capetonians the option of working flexi-hours, whilst still using public transport. The City’s Sustainable Transport Section continues to encourage large employers to explore the notion of flexi-hours, an idea supported by Metrorail and the Cape Regional Chamber.  The later trains provide an opportunity for some employees to vary their working hours and revise their shifts, reducing hour peak demand on public transport. Students too can remain on campus later while assured of a train home.

This extended service is a pilot project that will run for six months. The successes and challenges of this pilot project will be monitored and evaluated, as it will inform the decision to permanently reinstate evening trains or not. The success of this pilot could see similar services introduced on other lines in the city.

Detailed information is available from the City’s Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63, transport.info@capetown.gov.za or on www.capetown.gov.za. The rail time tables are available on

http://www.capemetrorail.co.za (also see attached brochure)

For an exciting steam train experience on the Southern line see

http://scenicsouth.co.za//2011/03/a-steam-train-excursion-in-the-scenic-south/