Gautrain hunts for nearby property for parking
Gautrain is building more station parking bays and wants access to shopping centre parking lots.
Gautrain commuters are struggling to find parking at some stations, so the Gautrain management is looking for nearby parking solutions for commuters who drive to the stations.
The busiest car parks are at Pretoria, Rhodesfield and Centurion stations, all full every day, because of what Gautrain operator Bombela called "exceptional" commuter use.
Now the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) - the government agency which manages the Gautrain - is running a feasibility study for setting up a park-and-ride system using private sector parking lots.
The agency has issued a tender for a private partner to run the feasibility study.
"The study will provide practical solutions that can be implemented to encourage private car users to switch to public transport," says the bid document.
The intention is to find parking lots - like those at big shopping centres - within 300m of the Gautrain stations and along Gautrain bus routes for park-and-ride sites.
The study must also assess transport options in Joburg including Gautrain, Rea Vaya, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA and the SA National Roads Agency Ltd.
More Gautrain bus routes may be added.
Until then, commuters will have to do a bit of planning.
"Passengers will have to change their travel patterns towards public transport, park and ride, lift clubs etc in the future where congestion is an issue," said GMA spokeswoman Barbara Jensen.
Building new parking lots for the stations is expensive - Jensen says it's about R115 000 per bay - so other solutions may be cheaper and quicker.
The feasibility study aims to find parking sites near Hatfield, Pretoria, Centurion, Rosebank and Rhodesfield stations.
The agency's list of possibles includes Sandton City, Melrose Arch, Cresta, Greenstone and Maponya shopping centres, and FNB Stadium, Orlando Stadium, Nasrec and Montecasino,
The feasibility study partner must approach owners of shopping centres and other large existing parking areas to discuss parking partnerships.
The feasibility study must also look at fare systems and funding.
"The parking system should be linked to the train service (Gautrain passengers receive a discount on parking if they use the train service)," said an agency note to bidders.
The note refers to a split in the parking revenue between Gautrain and parking owners.
"The train system currently carries between about 37 000 and 40 000 people per day and the bus system between 12 000 and 13 000 people per day. Considering that this growth reflects... a fundamental change in consumer behaviour... it is clear that commuter take-up has been exceptional," said Bombela spokeswoman Kelebogile Machaka.
The GMA has even higher figures: 41 000 passenger trips a day on the trains and 14 500 passenger trips a day on the buses.
Jensen said the bus passenger figures were about 35 percent of train figures, well above the international norm of 18 percent.