PRASA Relaunches Nancefield Railway Line Connecting Soweto to Johannesburg

PRASA relaunches Nancefield railway line in Soweto, providing affordable and efficient public transport for commuters, boosting access to opportunities and promoting social inclusion.

Mazhar Abbas
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PRASA Relaunches Nancefield Railway Line Connecting Soweto to Johannesburg

PRASA Relaunches Nancefield Railway Line Connecting Soweto to Johannesburg

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has relaunched the Nancefield railway line, which connects Soweto to Park Station in Johannesburg's central business district (CBD). This line was among the 36 Metrorail lines that had stopped operating due to infrastructure theft and vandalism during the COVID-19 pandemic. PRASA has now rehabilitated 31 of its 40 corridors across the country.

The reopening of the Nancefield to Park Station corridor provides relief to thousands of commuters, as they can now travel to the city center for just R7.50, which is significantly cheaper than taking a taxi. Commuters, including a high school student and a resident of Orlando, have expressed their satisfaction with the restored rail service, as it saves them money and feels safer than taxis.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga took a trip on the relaunched line, noting a boost in passenger rail commuter trips nationwide since the end of the pandemic, with over 70 million passenger train trips in the last three years. "This marks a significant improvement and illustrates the demand for the service, as people are gradually choosing rail as their preferred mode of transport," Chikunga said.

PRASA Board Chairperson Nokwe Makama stated that they are working tirelessly to bring the remaining nine corridors back into service. The agency previously served 600 million passengers annually before the theft and vandalism that occurred during the pandemic when rail services were suspended.

Why this matters: The restoration of the Nancefield railway line is a significant step towards improving public transportation in South Africa and providing affordable, efficient travel options for commuters. The reopening of this line and others across the country is expected to strengthen disadvantaged communities, enhance access to opportunities, and promote greater social and economic inclusion.

Minister Chikunga emphasized that the restored rail services have strengthened disadvantaged communities, enhanced access to opportunities, and promoted greater social and economic inclusion. Sithembile September, a commuter, expressed her relief and excitement over the efficiency of the train services, stating that she will now take the train to work instead of taxis, as it provides a safer and more reliable mode of transportation.

Key Takeaways

  • PRASA has relaunched the Nancefield railway line, connecting Soweto to Johannesburg CBD.
  • The restored line provides affordable and safer travel for commuters, costing only R7.50.
  • Transport Minister notes a boost in passenger rail trips nationwide since the pandemic.
  • PRASA aims to bring the remaining 9 corridors back into service after theft and vandalism.
  • The restored rail service strengthens disadvantaged communities and promotes social inclusion.