The train is the most popular way people travel in Cape Town. And although around 60% of the public use it, trains are often delayed and overcrowded. Metrorail statistics show that there are about 420 000 more people on the central line, which goes to townships like Khayelitsha, Langa and Mitchells Plain, in contrast to those on the southern line, to the southern suburbs such as Rondebosch, Obsevatory, Claremont and Kenilworth. The central line needs approximately 150 more trains to grant the same customer satisfaction. When we spoke to Metrorail, they said lack of investment in rail is one of the main causes in the shortage of trains.
The pictures below contrast how overcrowded trains on the central line are, as compared to trains on the southern line. And below, some commuters share their unpleasant experiences of taking the train on the central line.
“Travelling with Metrorail is a nightmare. Yesterday I was in a packed carriage (like sardines caught in a net) and I was wearing a tight dress. There was a man standing smack-bang behind me. It may not have been his intention to make me feel uncomfortable, but I still felt violated as I’m sure most women would.” – Jaydee Jansen (21) from Ravensmead
“Trains get delayed on my way to work and when I’m coming back. I work in Claremont and I live in Khayelitsha, there’s no direct train, s0 I have to change trains in town. When a train gets delayed I have to take bus and spend more money” – Abuyile Ntlantsana (20)
“People die here. When you are in a rush to get to work and the train gets delayed your best bet is to just get off and walk. We do this even if the train has not reached the platform because that train can be delayed for a long time. However, that same train can start moving and then you have to chase it and that’s very dangerous.” – Anonymous
This video below shows the difference between the two lines:
Photography and videography by Lukho Witbooi
*An earlier version of this article mistook Mowbray station for Observatory, and the northern line for the southern line. The errors have since been fixed.