Gau­train ex­ten­sion to com­ple­ment, not com­pete with Prasa

CityPress - - Business - LE­SETJA MA­LOPE le­setja.ma­lope@city­press.co.za

The next multi­bil­lion-rand phase of the Gau­train project will com­ple­ment rather than com­pete with the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and the prov­ince’s in­te­grated trans­port sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to Gau­train Man­age­ment Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe.

His com­ment came af­ter Gaut­eng Roads and Trans­port MEC Is­mail Vadi an­nounced that a feasibility study found the project to be vi­able and that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment would start pre­par­ing for the project.

Van der Merwe this week said that Prasa, which al­ready op­er­ates its trains in the ar­eas ear­marked for the ex­ten­sion, and Gau­train would co­ex­ist.

“There’s an av­er­age of 547 peo­ple who move to Gaut­eng ev­ery day and we need to in­te­grate our trans­port sys­tem,” he added.

The ex­ten­sion is set to in­clude an ad­di­tional 70km of rail­way line that will pass through 19 new sta­tions spread out across the east and west of Johannesburg, in­clud­ing Soweto, Four­ways, Lanse­ria, Boks­burg and Rand­burg. The Gau­train Man­age­ment Agency had al­ready ap­plied to Na­tional Trea­sury as the fund­ing for the project would be in part­ner­ship with the pri­vate sec­tor, and would re­quire funds from both pro­vin­cial and na­tional gov­ern­ment cof­fers.

The first phase of the Gau­train sys­tem cost gov­ern­ment R26 bil­lion and the next phase will most likely be more ex­pen­sive, but Van der Merwe said the avail­abil­ity of the funds would de­ter­mine how long the project took to com­plete.

No deal has yet been signed as en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments still have to be com­mis­sioned and Van der Merwe said it would take be­tween five and eight years be­fore the project re­ally took off.

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