The Inkatha Freedom Party has expressed concerns regarding the state of the country’s rail infrastructure following numerous financial losses suffered by the department due to non-fare-paying passengers.
With Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) only set to start with the implementation of the Integrated Ticket System in the new financial year, which seeks to reduce these losses, as well as spending R30 billion over the next 3 years in preparation for new trains, the need to tackle this issue is an urgent one.
The IFP’s Chief Whip in Parliament, Mr Narend Singh, said “Many people try to find a way to dodge paying for their ticket on trains, which presents PRASA with a huge financial problem. As the IFP, we wanted to know what those losses amount to and how the department is handling the situation”.
In response to a written question by Mr. N Singh, the Minister admitted it is difficult to estimate fare evasion due to the current gate systems not recording passenger movements, the openness of the current system, and the fact that the system is not an underground one that could be closed off and controlled.
“The level of fare evasion differs from corridor to corridor and is also dependent on specific corridor characteristics and the socio-economic conditions of the stations catchments areas, where much of the fare evasion is due to high levels of unemployment” replied Ms Peters.
Mr Singh also asked the minister whether the inspection of passengers will be incorporated with the new rolling stock and whether the losses would continue.
The Minister responded by stating that the scrutiny of passengers will indeed be an integral part of the improved system with new rolling stock. A closed system of proper walling or fencing with channelled passenger paths is a prerequisite for any card based solution to allow passengers to enter or exit the system without verification and subsequently fare credits.
She concluded by saying: “The implementation of the integrated fare management system will go a long way in eliminating the losses being encountered through fare revenue”.
Mr Narend Singh MP,
IFP Chief Whip on 083 788 5954