CASH-STRAPPED Prasa could bleed millions of rands following vandalism of the railway network, should the resumption of Metrorail services get the green light.
Trains haven’t been running since lockdown began and overhead cables were stolen.
Restoring infrastructure would cost the rail agency millions and ultimately hit commuters hard in the pocket.
Gauteng Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng said vandalism and theft happened on most corridors in the province.
Some of it happened before lockdown.
“Sadly, stations are being vandalised by criminals from the same communities we have the responsibility of serving,” said Mofokeng.
“We were not able to do any maintenance-related work since there were no provisions under lockdown.
“It will cost us millions to reinstate the service. At the same time, Prasa is experiencing financial challenges.”
Some arrests were made with help from residents.
“The issue of theft and vandalism is a big concern,” she said.
“When trains aren’t operational our revenue gets affected, and we’re aware of the unfortunate strain this puts on our commuters.”
As lockdown regulations continued to be eased, Mofokeng said, the agency had a plan to bring in services back as and when Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced them.
But service resumption would adhere to strict Covid-19 regulations for public transport.
She told the People’s Paper: “We’re calling on communities to continue working with us and police to report all these criminals so we can save this important and affordable transport service.”
Mofokeng said vandalism and theft may be reported to the Protection Services Joint Operations Centre at 011 013 0051, 011 013 0052, 011 013 0055 or 011 013 0057.