19 Jun Gautrain expansion required before Gauteng population grows exponentially
By: Irma Venter
The concession on the current 80 km Gautrain system would have wrapped up in 2027, with the system paid off, and with the current government subsidy payable to the Gautrain system possibly available for transfer to the Phase 1 expansion. The GMA is an agency of the Gauteng government.
Phase 1 of the expansion plan proposes a rapid rail link from Randburg and Little Falls to Sandton.
Proposed expansions to the Gauteng rapid rail network will add 150 km of rail line to the current 80 km Gautrainnetwork. The expansion will reach hubs such as Soweto, Pretoria East, Boksburg and Lanseria.
Dachs says the expansion project requires “significant capital. We can’t talk numbers yet”.
He acknowledges that the South African national budget is in “for a tight two, three years”.
However, “the cycle will turn,” he says. “We need a plan for when the capital is available.
“We have to start thinking what happens when the concession comes to an end.”
Gauteng’s population will grow by 48% by 2037, says Dachs. The Gauteng workforce will increase by 44% by 2037, with formal jobs forecast to increase by 83%.
“Where will they live? How will they get to work?”
“We need to plan for the future,” says Dachs. “We are going to have a mobility problem that will translate into economic inefficiencies. The cost of doing nothing will be severe.”
Gauteng’s vehicle population is expected to grow from the 3.9-million vehicles to 6.6-million vehicles by 2037.
The Gautrain runs on 99% availability and 98% punctuality.
Fare evasion is smaller than 0.4% of users, and happens mainly through tailgating through the turnstiles.
The majority of users are women.
“People are saying they can’t get on the train, so they are taking their cars”.
In an effort to relieve pressure in the morning rush hour, the GMA has started the procurement process for 12 new four-car trains.
Longer Operating Hours
The GMA hopes to have an answer on possible longer operating hours for the north-south line within the next six months, says Dachs.
Operating hours have already been extended for the airport link. The last train used to leave at 20:30, but two trains have been added – one at 20:46 and one at 21:04 – to accommodate late evening plane arrivals.