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Friday Mar 07, 2014

Gautrain to accommodate more passengers

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi and Gautrain management have announced an increase in peak-hours carriages.

Vadi said Gautrain's two eightcar carriages would replace the four-car carriages used in the morning.

This was being done to accommodate commuters using it in the early hours of the morning on the Pretoria-Joburg route.

Vadi said the eight-car carriage would be introduced in the next three months. Commuters would be informed as the date draws closer.

Vadi and Gautrain chief executive Jack van der Merwe also announced that the Gautrain airport service between Sandton and OR Tambo stations would increase its operating hours.

The 5.20am to 9.10pm operating hours would start 30 minutes earlier and trains would cease operating 35 minutes later in the evening.

The Gautrain management has also promised to promote the 15 percent discount for travelling at off-peak periods in order to better spread demand.

Other promises include keeping Sandton station parking open late at night to enable airline passengers with delayed flights to access their vehicles.

'This parking will now stay open until midnight,' Vadi said.

In addition to these short-term incentives, the government would begin feasibility studies for the extension of Gautrain routes, the MEC said.

On the cards are proposals to extend the routes in the following areas:

  • A link from Park station to Westgate in the Joburg CBD.

  • A link from Rhodesfield station to Boksburg.

  • A link from Naledi in Soweto to Mamelodi in Tshwane, via either the proposed Samrand station or the existing Gautrain Midrand station.

    This extension would include new stations such as Blue Hills, Sunninghill, Fourways, Cosmo City and Ruimsig.

  • A link from Sandton station to Randburg and Honeydew. Vadi said the procurement process would probably start after 24 months, if the feasibility studies proved viable.

    'These interventions are urgent and necessary as the Gautrain passenger demand has continued to grow since the service started on June 7, 2012.

    'Currently, over 61 000 train passengers and over 23 000 bus passengers utilise the Gautrain service on a typical weekday,' Vadi said.

    He said the introduction of e-tolls on Gauteng freeways had led to a dramatic rise in the number of people using the Gautrain.

    'The increases in the fuel price and the introduction of the e-toll system renders Gautrain a cheaper mode of choice with a rapidly increasing number of commuters,' Vadi said.

    Gautrain management promised to improve the Gautrain's capacity in the next six to nine months.

    One of these would be to reconfigure the sitting arrangements as well as implementing the 10minute headways in peak periods as opposed to 12.

    The Gautrain management was also considering short-turn trains between Centurion and Sandton as well as providing additional parking at Rhodesfield and Midrand stations.

    Additional parking was also being considered for the Pretoria station.

    The Star

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