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Friday Feb 19, 2010

Cape Town station makeover in final straight with 112 days to go

Reconstruction of the Cape Town station has entered the home straight.

Key sections of the R418 million upgrade, required for the World Cup, are set to be completed by May.

Yesterday, contractors were installing cabling and glass windows in the new shops on the main concourse.

The remodelling, which began in September 2008, includes upgrades to the ageing station building, the relocation of the long-distance bus terminal, and improvements to the formal and informal trading spaces.

But while Capetonians have welcomed the upgrade, commuters are concerned about the station's maintenance programme after the World Cup.

Fatima Hardien, of Athlone, who commutes to the city every day, said: "I'm excited, but they must ensure the station is kept clean not just for the World Cup, but afterwards also."

Ryan Clark, a student from Fairways, said: "It's beginning to look much cleaner here. I hope it stays like this.

"I also heard there are going to be more name-brand shops. I am looking forward to that."

"The vision is for the station to be turned into a major shopping mall and lifestyle centre," said Lindelo Matya, regional manager of Intersite Property Management Services, the company managing the revitalisation programme on behalf of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

"This market will give existing informal traders the opportunity to upgrade into an inviting and safe trading environment," Matya said.

But only 300 traders would be invited to return once the new market was established.

Traders who were on the station deck have been moved to temporary sites at other stations until construction is complete.

Intersite has divided the station into five precincts: the station square, city concourse, Old Marine Drive, Strand Street and station deck.

Train information systems are also expected to be improved, with a multimillion-rand investment in an electronic information system, a public address system and information kiosks.

New ticket offices on Strand Street and Old Marine Drive opened in early September, and have facilities for commuters with special needs.

The long-distance bus precinct will be upgraded to accommodate more buses and improved passenger facilities.

The permanent trading units for informal traders on the station deck will be ready by May.

Cape Argus




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