Train safety ambassadors, many of them reformed train surfers, will be at the forefront of a R5 million campaign to make rail travel safer.
This follows the launch of the Easter back-to-school Rail Safety campaign by the SA Rail Commuter Co-operation (SARCC) on Thursday.
The SARCC's executive for safety, Enos Ngutshane, told reporters in Johannesburg the campaign would be an effort to reduce crime and vandalism on the tracks, including the theft of non-ferrous metal.
Thirty of about 200 safety ambassadors are being assisted with their education through the Star Schools programme at the University of the Witwatersrand. The ambassadors will hand out pamphlets, speak to commuters and visit schools.
The SARCC is contributing towards the education of former staff riders and train surfers (youngsters who get thrills from "surfing" on the roofs of moving trains) at Star Schools over the next three years.
Meanwhile the SARCC is aware that the reduction of crime and theft depends on the strength of its partnership with civil society, said Ngutshane.
"We will once more embark on road shows, safety workshops and focus media campaigns to educate the public and initiate dialogue on rail safety," he said.
"We intend reducing crime levels by 15 percent and further improve safety levels by 30 percent," he said.
Looking ahead to 2010, he said it was essential to have the co-operation of commuters, hawkers and the public.