The Gautrain’s airport service (Sandton to OR Tambo International) recently competed with the best in world on customer service and was consequently awarded the Global AirRail Alliance Award (GARA) for customer service excellence in Oslo, in May 2014. The GARA awards are international awards dedicated to the air-rail industry, recognising the best practice in intermodal travel around the world. The awards also looks for the best services of delivering an enjoyable and stress free journey between air and rail travel. Some of the finalists included Birmingham Airport (UK), Flytoget (Oslo, Norway) and Canada Line (Vancouver, Canada).
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Dr Ismail Vadi said “Gautrain’s airport service has been operational for four years and is popular for its time convenience as it takes only 15 minutes from Sandton to the OR Tambo International Airport Station. A simple trip by car can take up to an hour. The service is also convenient as it is integrated with the airport terminal.” We are all excited about this award as it showcases the hard work and dedication from everyone at Gautrain in ensuring our customer experience on the Gautrain is enjoyable”. It further proves that Gautrain, an infant in the airrail industry can compete with the best in the world.
The competition was eligible to systems that have been operational between February 2013 and February 2014 and judging criteria for the award included:
- Overall journey and transit experience
- Travel information provision and communication with customers
- Disruption management
- Value added services
- Stakeholder approval
- Customer feedback
The GARA judges were international air and rail travel experts and some of their comments on the Gautrain entry were “Go Gautrain! The service being only four years old uses the latest innovations and technology to maximise the customer service and experience for passengers. Staff are well trained to improve the service with good engagements with customers”.
Within the first six months of the airport service’s operations it carried just over 1 million passengers. During 2012 / 2013 it carried just under two million people. Such an increase in patronage can be attributed to excellent customer service. Proof of excellent customer service lies in a 24-month Customer Satisfaction Survey benchmark of a 9.5 / 10 Net Promoter score compared to 9.2 / 10 in 2012. This was mostly contributed to convenience, efficiency and safety. As a result of the popularity of the airport service, a second interchange at Marlboro Station to OR Tambo international Airport was introduced in 2012.
In order to continue offering a safe, convenient and efficient service to our passengers, the following system enhancements are being planned for the airport service:
- Keeping Sandton Station parking open later at night to accommodate airline passengers with delayed flights to access their vehicles. This parking will now stay open until 24h00.
- Extend the OR Tambo Station platform to four and a half carriage lengths for increased capacity. This is a commercial deal and negotiations are underway. The extensions of the airport platforms is going out on tender, and we hope to have the contract by end of August 2014 thereafter the actual work commence and will take nine months to complete.
- Commence with the feasibility studies for the Gautrain extensions as approved in the provincial 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25). The appointment of the consultants to do the feasibility study in under way.
Issued by: Dr Ismail Vadi (MEC for Roads and Transport)
Senior Executive Manager: Communication & Marketing
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