Train access for disabled 'an empty promise'
Last year Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman and Metrorail promised to attend to the station's problems and turn it into a disabled-friendly facility by next Tuesday.
After visiting the station with Metrorail officials and members of Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA) last October, Fransman announced ambitious plans for how the neglected station and neighbouring Lentegeur Station would be given a facelift at a cost of about R18-million.
His visit followed a Cape Argus exposé that showed disabled people had to be carried up and down the stairs by security personnel at the station because of faulty lifts.
When the Cape Argus visited the station again yesterday there was no sign of progress or work being done at the station except timetable boards that had been put up before Christmas last year.
Commuters who used the station daily and people working at the station said the last time they saw people attending to the lifts was when Fransman and his delegation visited the station in October.
"We didn't see anyone again after their visit.
"The only people who came were those who were putting up timetable boards.
"As for the lifts, they are still in the same condition they were in last year... still broken and useless," said one woman who declined to be named.
A security guard said they still had to carry disabled people to and from platforms.
"I've haven't seen anyone attending to the lifts recently.
"I don't know what's happening... all I know is that we are getting very few disabled people here.
"You get them once in a while when they come to the Lentegeur Hospital.
"Otherwise they don't come, probably because of these faulty lifts," he said.
The state-of-the-art lifts with built-in intercoms were installed at the station to raise people in wheelchairs from the bottom deck to the ticket sellers on the top deck of the station and then take them down to the platform to board a train, but these lifts have never been in operation.
They were part of the station's R9-million makeover done in December 2004 to make it accessible to the disabled.
Situated near the remodelled Lentegeur Hospital in Mitchells Plain, which also serves as premises for the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre, the revamp was described as the first step in a seven-year plan to make 31 stations across the metropole accessible to commuters with disabilities.
During the visit Fransman also said the modifications for the disabled at the two stations, would not only see the fixing of lifts, but would include improving platform floors to avoid uneven surfaces.
All this work was set to be ready and the station would be "fully operational by April 1" he said at the time.
But when the Cape Argus contacted his office and Metrorail's regional manager Stephen Ngobeni neither could give answers on the progress of the project.
Fransman's spokesperson Dougie Oakes saying he was also awaiting feedback from Metrorail.
Ngobeni said all he knew was that the project was "under way".
DA provincial spokesperson on transport Robin Carlisle has criticised Fransman's handling of the project and described its failure as "outrageous".