Fin24

Crackdown on train drivers

2011-05-26 06:36

 Johannesburg - The two recent Gauteng train accidents alone will cost the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) about R55m.

In the year to end-March another eight accidents occurred around the country. Prasa has now said “enough is enough”. It is going to take harsher action against workers disregarding the rules.

The driver who caused last week’s accident in Soweto was dismissed after a preliminary investigation found that he had been driving 85km/h in a 30km/h zone. Almost 900 people were injured in the incident.

The accident occurred after the driver had received a suspended sentence for another transgression less than four weeks earlier.

Lucky Montana, Prasa’s chief executive, said that any drivers who had violated safety rules in the past three to six months would be taken out of service and sent on refresher courses.

Another 19 drivers are now being charged with various contraventions. If found guilty they will be discharged, said Montana.

He said the group hoped to reappoint retired train drivers to act as mentors for the new generation of drivers.

Requests are being sent out in the respective regions to determine possible interest.

Every day Prasa operates 2 200 trains and transports up to 2.4m people around the country.

In the year to end-March Prasa had eight train accidents. It has since been rocked by another two serious accidents in Pretoria and Johannesburg, in which 2 500 people were injured.

The latter two accidents will cost Prasa around R55m. This includes R35m for damages to trains and infrastructure and R20m which the group has set aside to compensate injured commuters.

Both accidents were caused by “driver negligence” said Prasa.

Chris de Vos, general secretary of Prasa’s largest trade union, Utatu, said drivers were however not the only factors contributing to the number of accidents.

The train systems are old and dilapidated, he said. If Prasa’s metro trains had used new technology neither of the latest accidents would have happened. In both cases the drivers had ignored red signals.

Montana said the drivers should have stopped, but did not. In the Pretoria accident the driver died. De Vos said that in both cases new technology would have automatically stopped the trains if a signal was ignored.

Government was planning to upgrade metro train services over the next 18 years, he said. But this will take too long and many more train accidents can be expected in South Africa.

- Sake24

For business news in Afrikaans, go to Sake24.com.

Comments
  • Badballie - 2011-05-26 08:02

    yes, yes right lets lock the door now that the horses have bolted, this is indicative of state run institutions.

  • Ross - 2011-05-26 08:09

    "To re-appoint retired train drivers". = "To re-appoint affirmative action victims".

  • Mr Mike - 2011-05-26 08:12

    Driving a train is alot different than driving a taxi...

      Xak'abantu - 2011-05-26 13:21

      You're so foolish to even compare, but you're even more stupid to insinuate that it was a black person that was responsible for this, and that by extension, black people are generally incapable of performing a task so basic as to control speed and adhere to signals.

  • Ian - 2011-05-26 08:20

    Once again. Government has ignored infrastructure to the cost of commuters.

  • Grunk - 2011-05-26 08:21

    Labour laws obviously take precedence over lives - even when hundreds of lives are at stake. That is in line with the majority of reasoning in South Africa.

  • erazor - 2011-05-26 08:24

    Typical unions, shirking responsivility for members' negligence. Running a red a light and ignoring speed limts is criminal, period. Outdated technology is a separate issue altogether!

  • ratex - 2011-05-26 08:28

    Not good enough, they should not have been allowed to drive the trains unless they had had proper training. So this guy, now has 2 instances of the same type of stupidity and all he gets is a dismissal? WTF. So the 900 people he injured is not an issue at all? Oh well, this is africa after all and we know more than anybody else in the known universe, don't we? Just look how well we do things.

  • Bratboy - 2011-05-26 08:28

    Yip! too Little too Late. People must die before action is taken. Yip! Yip! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm me tinx this could be a consequence of affirmative action.

  • witboy - 2011-05-26 08:31

    Do not fire them that is not the answer send them to gail

      Mighty_Whitey - 2011-05-26 16:55

      And Gail can have his way with them.

  • Brian Smith - 2011-05-26 08:32

    How long does it take for prasa to wake up to the fact that its fast tracking of affirmative action train drivers is highly risky. In the last few years we have had more train accidents by far than I can remember in the last 43 years.

  • ji - 2011-05-26 08:37

    thats what happens when you dismiss experienced and trained staff because of colour and hire only AA , EE and BEE with no experience or pride in their job .

  • witboy - 2011-05-26 08:41

    Do not fire the drivers send them to jail 10 years that will stop them from driving badly

  • Sheda Hab - 2011-05-26 08:44

    I was reading an article yesterday where a guy was saying that ANC voters wanted to run the country themselves or more to the point people only vote ANC because only black people must run the country. Well after 18 years this is the result. I do not know what race group the driver is from but that is not the point. the decisions to act or not to act on discipline, training, maintenance etc. comes from the top. Me for one - I am am happy if the white DA guy was transitionally running the country. I visited Cape Town a month ago and was SUPER IMPRESSED. Now don't get me wrong I am not saying the country must forever be run by whites. Because of our history they had the qualifications and the ANC just swopped them out with unqualified wannabees. It has to happen soon because I believe one of the government departments realised their mistake two years ago and tried to bring back the qualified guys to teach the new guys and guess what? Most had retired, or employed overseas and the few that remained had their own one man businesses. So I ain't gonna be using trains, planes and taxis for the next 18 years. Maybe longer at the rate our schools are burning down.

  • anna - 2011-05-26 08:44

    It is in the nature of the beast......no amount of training or discipline will change an inherent flaw.

  • Sheda Hab - 2011-05-26 08:50

    I was reading an article in NEWS24 yesterday where a guy was saying that ANC voters wanted to run the country themselves or more to the point people only vote ANC because only black people must run the country. Well after 18 years this is the result. I do not know what race group the driver is from but that is not the point. Decisions to act or not to act on discipline, training, maintenance etc. comes from the top. Me for one - I am happy if the white DA guy was transitionally running the country. I visited Cape Town a month ago and was SUPER IMPRESSED. Now don't get me wrong I am not saying the country must forever be run by whites. Because of our history they had the qualifications and the ANC just swopped them out with unqualified wannabees. It has to happen soon, because I believe one of the government departments realised their mistake two years ago and tried to bring back the qualified guys to teach the new guys and guess what? Most had retired, or were employed overseas and the few that remained had their own one man businesses. So I ain't gonna be using trains, planes and taxis for the next 18 years. Maybe longer at the rate our schools are burning down. Mind you if you have no electricity, water or fuel the choice will be made for me any way.

  • Dumba1234 - 2011-05-26 08:54

    Why only now when people are injured Why not apply these measures when they break the rules They are spending the money for themselves

  • Luigi - 2011-05-26 08:56

    " If Prasa’s metro trains had used new technology neither of the latest accidents would have happened. In both cases the drivers had ignored red signals. " What? What new technologies aids train drivers not to ignore red signals?

  • kalabafazi@24.com - 2011-05-26 09:20

    Should these train drivers not be charged with negligence and jailed?

      clark - 2011-05-26 10:36

      - In the Anc's world, incompetence is usually handsomely rewarded .

      Xak'abantu - 2011-05-26 14:11

      That should be the case, but that's the area of the PDPP. The police will ideally investigate and give this case priority status, perhaps assign two top detectives. The process could take a couple of months, then the evidence is handed to the prosecutions authority to decide whether there's enough to pursue a case.

  • Luigi - 2011-05-26 09:27

    "If Prasa’s metro trains had used new technology neither of the latest accidents would have happened. In both cases the drivers had ignored red signals." what!? What new technology would aid drivers not to ignore red signals?? this is human negligence, these train drivers must go to jail and accept the consequences of their actions, and realise they're responsible for human lives

      Benzo - 2011-05-26 10:28

      Dear Luigi....elsewhere in the world they run trains with "no driver". How do you think they do that?

  • RobinAL - 2011-05-26 09:42

    Yes the driver was at fault but i also blame PRASA and Metro Rail because in the "OLD" days a person had to be an assistant to a train driver on goods trains for +-5 years to learn about the job before becoming a driver on shunting jobs and light goods trains for another 2 years to learn how to handle a train properly and then having to re- write the train drivers exams and only then could you drive a Metro train but now Metro take people staight off the road to become instant drivers.So really who is at fault!

  • clark - 2011-05-26 09:51

    - Another classic example of the Anc's total inability to manage. They always react when it's too late and the damage is done. Absolutely clueless,circus clowns.

  • Tilo von Brandis - 2011-05-26 10:05

    What type of person does not stop for a red signal while being responsible for the lives of 100's of people, parents, children? Are no psychometric tests done to assesses if train drivers have the capacity to understand their responsibility? Are we so desperate to achieve equity in the workplace that we ignore the safty of our people? Serious questions should be asked and heads should roll as each one of these drivers have a boss that should make sure that the rules are followed and discipline is maintained...

  • Rodney Emmerich - 2011-05-26 11:01

    When are they going to crack down on taxi drivers who wipe out/injure way more commuters/motorists

      tryanything - 2011-05-27 17:21

      Taxi drivers already run red lights

  • soldsoul - 2011-05-26 11:07

    You think this is bad ? Wait untill they force EE into SAA.....

  • cgtours - 2011-05-26 11:12

    Refresher courses WOULD NOT HELP - FIRE them!!IF A HUMAN BEING HAS GOT THE MENTALITY and the ToTal LACK of RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTIONS-to NOT BEING ABLE TO REALISE that a lot of the Publics lives are in his hands- How the hell can they be given jobs like this in the first place? I mean a TRAIN can have hundreds on board ( even worse than a bus or plane) Imagine handing over an Aircraft to somebody who is not suitable as a Pilot?or a bus to a guy who BOUGHT his licence from a corrupt Official!NOBODY can rectify a person mental capabilities and judgement and then with a Refresher Course. Thius Lucky Montana should be FIRED as well-He is putting our lives in danger- Remove him and fire the wrong people in the wrong Jobs!Stop this bloody crony business, especially now when it comes to the lives of Citizens in this Country being endangered on a very large scale! There are certain people whose character/temperament/sense of judgement/ are JUST NOT suitable for certain jobs.If these drivers were suitabkle, they would not FLAUNT regulations and laws in the first place and there would be NO ACCIDENTS! have they not already been trained? and what are the results? Accidents? MUST the CITIZENS now suffer for certain Policies in Place.How were they selected as Drivers in the first place and by whom?What credentials did they have when they were selected for employment? Did they undergo IQ Tests? Medical Tests/eyesight tests/ did they past Reputable Credentials(thoroughly checked)?

  • anthro45@24.com - 2011-05-26 11:22

    A total lack of training, education, IQ, and the ability to think. Also a total lack of supervision and the ability to supervise by the people that was appointed as BEE candidates. This country is not going down. It's plummeting.

  • NuttyPeanuts - 2011-05-26 11:35

    You get what you vote for

  • Rinus Eckard - 2011-05-26 11:57

    Chris de Vos: maybe we should just employ technology to the point where there is no human intervention needed. That will be the safest option. And then your driver union members will not have a job At least they will be safe when they travel on the trains they used to drive...

  • Derrick - 2011-05-26 12:37

    DeejayB: Puting aside unsafe acts of train drivers - what of the commuters hanging onto the back outside of the coaches as well as them hanging out of open doors,(as seen on TV last night which is scary & embarassing). Doors are ment to be closed whilst in motion. Passanger are more likely to die falling off/ under,than from the trains crashing.Industry have Dept. of Labour to police safety....... who's policing rail transport safety??????

      Melanie - 2011-05-26 13:43

      Metrorail tried enforcing the closed door policy. They let the train stand until all the doors were closed. Commuters were unhappy with the delays and burnt the trains. Clearly you haven't been on a train. If you fall out of a train door, it is because it was kept open intentionally by commuters.

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