After six years of operation and close to 80 million passenger trips, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has demonstrated that the face of public transport can be radically changed. A modern and efficient public transport system such as Gautrain has had a positive impact on the provincial economy, alleviated traffic congestion and rejuvenated several inner cities in Johannesburg and Tshwane. It has created jobs and helped to re-establish the rail sector in our province.
These benefits illustrate the need for rail as being the backbone of public transport in our province. The KPMG study on the wider benefits of Gautrain indicated that between 2006 and 2011, over 122 000 jobs were created by Gautrain. For every R1 spent on Gautrain, R1.72 has been added to the Gauteng economy. Spatially, Gauteng now works much more efficiently and several billion Rands of private sector investment has been channeled into development around Gautrain stations.
Due to growing ridership and peak hour passenger demand, 12 new train sets are required. With the Gautrain’s 99 percent availability rate; less than 0.4 percent fare evasion; and 98 percent punctuality of its trains, the system has generated strong demand for the expansion of the Gautrain rail system.
The GPG believes that that extension of the Gautrain rail network and the modernisation of the PRASA Metrorail system must be supported if rail-based public transport is to grow to the required levels to prevent urban sprawl und unsustainable road congestion in the province.
The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) has completed the feasibility study on the extension of the Gautrain rail network. It has been submitted to Provincial and National Treasuries and to major stakeholders that were consulted during the feasibility process.
The feasibility study report supports the principle of an extension of the Gautrain rail network and outlines the preferred routes that should be developed. This is based on the:
- transformational impact on the Gauteng economy;
- the modernisation of public transport;
- greener transportation solutions for a healthier community;
- passenger access and mobility;
- improved spatial development;
- environmental impact;
- increase in local content;
- business development, and
- the creation of jobs and poverty alleviation.
The feasibility study concludes that the extension of the Gautrain rail network will provide significant economic and transport related benefits to the province and the country at large; that it offers value for money, and appropriate risk transfer if procured as a Public-Private Partnership.
Demand modelling was done to determine transport needs for Gauteng in 2025 and 2037. Through the modelling process it became clear that the ‘cost of doing nothing’ in the province will lead to major road congestion in 2037, at which stage cars will travel at an average of 15 kilometres an hour due to doubling of car growth.
The feasibility study identified the following main links and stations of the Gautrain rail network extensions:
- On the link between Jabulani via Cosmo City and Samrand to Mamelodi, stations include Roodepoort, Little Falls, Fourways, Sunninghill, Olievenhoutsbosch, Irene, Tshwane East and Hazeldean.
- The link between Sandton and Cosmo City has a station at Randburg.
- On the link between Rhodesfield and Boksburg there will be a station at East Rand Mall and possible link-up with the OR Tambo International Airport Midfield terminal development.
- A future link from Cosmo City to Lanseria Airport.
Due to the magnitude and complexity of the project, it will be split into five phases.
The total network is shown below:
Phase 1 is shown below:
The Gauteng provincial government is aware that a project of this magnitude will require significant funding from various sources. In order to address affordability issues an engagement with the national government is required. This will be facilitated by the national Department of Transport.
This project give access to private sector funds locally and internationally as well as opportunities for innovation and world-best-practice during design, construction, operations and maintenance.
It will also have significant socio-economic development benefits, including an estimated 211 000 jobs created in construction; R19 billion procurement spend on black owned entities; increased black ownership of companies in the rail sector; a strong focus on local content in the supply chain, and increased capacity in the rail sector through skills development.
This is our dream of a world class rail system to eventually connect our people throughout Gauteng.