Liquor louts upset rail commuters

Brackenfell railway station.

Rail commuters say they feel threatened by a growing problem of public drinking and drunkenness at Brackenfell train station.

The Metrorail passengers say it is becoming the norm at weekends to see people nursing bottles of liquor at the station.

“It is happening every weekend, especially on Friday when people come from work,” said Leonardo Lewis.

“They buy their liquor and sit here on the steps and drink while waiting for their trains to come. And sometimes they even take the bottles inside.”

The father of two commutes daily from Belhar to his work in Brackenfell.

He wants Metrorail to improve security at the station.

“Our lives are in danger because anything can happen. Others they even smoke inside the train,” said Mr Lewis.

Happiness Luvalo, 33, of Stellenbosch, fears going to the station.

“On weeks I take a taxi when I go home I can’t walk alone in here,” she said of the station.

“I only use a train only if we are going in group because they sit here calling or whistling at us when we passing them. Sometimes you don’t trust them. It feels as if they can do something bad to you.”

Northern News asked Brackenfell police station spokesperson Captain Erica Crous whether police had dealt with any public drinking cases at the station, but she referred us to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

Riana Scott, the spokeswoman for Metrorail – a division of Prasa – said they deployed security based on the crime reports they received “hence the importance of reporting each and every incident however trivial”.

She emphasised that drinking in public was an offence in terms of Liquor Act and could be enforced by the police.