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Original Research

Instilling safety culture in the passenger rail transport industry within the South African context

Khulumane (John) Maluleke

Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management; Vol 7, No 1 (2013), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/jtscm.v7i1.84

Submitted: 03 December 2012
Published:  15 July 2013


South Africa has two major rail operators that constitute the rail transport industry. These are Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), which operates freight and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). Although the Railway Safety Regulator (2011:29) reported the year on year declining trend of collisions, the main concern is that the costs incurred for each year’s incidents is escalating. This article is concerned with the declining safety standards of these operators as evidenced by 742 collisions recorded during the 2011/2012 financial year for both operators. The focus is mainly on collisions during the movement of rolling stock within the PRASA environment. The analysis of the occurrences is narrowed down, with the emphasis on the province of Gauteng. In the analysis of the causes of these collisions, the problems that led to the root causes of these collisions is reported. Of critical importance is that every transport operator is faced with the challenges of how to effectively respond to the basic transport needs and requirements of the travelling public. The transport users’ need is to travel between the two geographical points. During the journey between these geographical points, the operator has safety and security requirements and must provide a reliable, accessible and affordable transport system. As the travelling public becomes more affluent, the transport needs become open ended and require much more rational public choices. The rail transport system remains a vital or indispensable business sector of the economy. By investing in new technology, rolling stock and infrastructure, we woud see an increase in innovation, competitiveness, and an elevated standard of living.

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Author affiliations

Khulumane (John) Maluleke, Department of Transport Economics, Logistics and Tourism University of South Africa, South Africa


South African Passenger Rail Transport Industry; Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa; Safety


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ISSN: 2310-8789 (print) | ISSN: 1995-5235 (online)

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