Western Cape Rail Transport Bill [2019] – Call For Comment

The Western Cape Government has published the Draft Western Cape Rail Transport Bill [2019], and is asking for your comment.

The draft legislation is in response to the very serious and urgent need to address the issues plaguing rail transportation in this province. The Draft Bill seeks to improve rail safety and rail service standards in the Western Cape and makes proposals on how this can be achieved.

There is no questioning the important role that passenger rail plays in providing high-capacity, affordable, efficient, and rapid access to opportunities in any metropolitan area, including the City of Cape Town. Road-based public transport simply does not compare with the bulk carriage capabilities of an efficient passenger rail system.

Unfortunately, across the country (and specifically here in the Western Cape), the passenger rail service has been in a state of crisis characterised by declining performance capacity, punctuality, safety, and an increase in cancellations and overcrowding. In the Western Cape, these issues have been exacerbated by crippling arson attacks, theft, and vandalism.

The adverse consequence of this situation has been a mass passenger exodus from rail transport to road-based transport which has placed significant pressure on the road network and has increased congestion.

Given that the rail system in Cape Town is operated by the national government, under the auspices of PRASA, this Bill will seek to increase the Western Cape Government’s ability to regulate, oversee and monitor the passenger rail service in the province.

This is possible under responsibilities granted to the Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works by the Constitution and National Land Transport Act (NLTA, Act 5 of 2009).

The Draft Western Cape Rail Transport Bill (2009) which seeks to:

  • Provide for cooperative rail management between relevant organs of state through the establishment of a rail committee and the inclusion of cooperation agreements;
  • Establish a rail unit with a rail inspectorate to perform monitoring and oversight of rail systems and safety;
  • Establish and maintain an information system;
  • Regulate the preparation and content of the commuter rail component of municipalities’ integrated transport plans;
  • Regulate the process of addressing non-compliance by rail operators with national operational and service delivery norms and standards and provincial norms and standards.

Download the draft here: http://pmg-assets.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/190329cape-rail-transport-draft-bill.pdf

Comments can be emailed to Doris Cassiem at doris.cassiem@westerncape.gov.za by no later than Monday, 15 May 2019.

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