Residents’ plea for Steenberg upgrade

Commuters want an upgrade at Steenberg station.

Steenberg station commuters as well as Sharedon Park residents have flagged major safety issues at the busy stop along Metrorail’s southern line.

Sharedon Park Ratepayers’ Association chairperson, Eric Bailey has been advocating for an upgrade and more safety measures at the station, which is run by Metrorail, a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

This is not the first time the issue of safety has been highlighted.

Previously commuters asked for more resources to be deployed because there had been a spike in robberies at and near the station (“Call for tighter security at Steenebrg station”, Southern Mail, July 9, 2014).

Mr Bailey said commuters, especially those from the area, want Prasa to step up services.

“The commuters of Sharedon Park and surrounding areas have had to bear the frustration of a seemingly eternal wait for an upgrade by Prasa to take place at Steenberg station. It would seem the desperate cries of the community have been long forgotten and fallen on deaf ears as the condition of the station remains a painful eyesore to the public,” he said.

Mr Bailey said many railway stations along the southern line had been upgraded and beautified over the years, but “Steenberg station, a very busy station seems to be overlooked.”

Some of the concerns raised in-clude the uneven tar and cracked platforms as well as the rusted footbridge posing a safety hazard to commuters; the ablution facilities’ lack of lighting; the lack of security officials as there have been several muggings near and at the station; the lack of fencing; and quality of the announcement system.

“Another issue is that the boom crossing is frequently inoperable leaving motorists in a quandary at the level crossing,” said Mr Bailey.

The level crossing is situated next to the station.

“We view these problems in a very serious light and urgently require Prasa to do the long overdue upgrade which the commuters deserve,” said Mr Bailey.

Sharedon Park resident and commuter, Leigh-Anne Damons, takes the train to Cape Town station and then to her workplace in Parow every morning.

“I leave the house at 5am in the morning and my worry is that I will be targeted by criminals because I’ve heard about so many people getting robbed at the station,” she said.

“There is no fencing, no sufficient lighting and not enough security guards. We as commuters who pay a lot of money for Metrorail tickets deserve better services from Prasa,” said Ms Damons.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott responded to some of the safety concerns and said that there is adequate security.

“Steenberg station is guarded 24/7 by two guards per shift as well as Metrorail Protection Service Officials. Their duties comprise the protection of commuters, employees and assets and to be effective they focus on the immediate environs and operations of the station,” she said.

She adds that resources are allocated on a similar basis as general policing.

“Metrorail’s regional static, mobile and undercover resources are allocated according to priori- ties determined at joint weekly meetings between Metrorail Protection Services and the police. Proactive deployment of security resources is based on security intelligence; reactive measures in response to reported incidents,” said Ms Scott.

As for the upgrade, Ms Scott said an assessment inspection was conducted on Wednesday June 22 meaning some work will be done at the station soon.

“This was followed by the appointment and briefing of a service provider. Quotations are awaited and the contract is expected to take three to four weeks after appointment,” she said.