Gau­train to ex­pand its reach

With a num­ber of new routes and the addition of new trains, the ex­pan­sion of the Gau­train net­work means good news for the prov­ince's econ­omy.

Public Sector Manager - - Contents - Writer: Lu­cille Davie

Plans are un­der­way to add new routes and new trains to con­nect more Gaut­eng com­mu­ni­ties

Since the Gau­train took to the tracks in June 2010, it has trans­ported al­most 80 mil­lion pas­sen­gers be­tween Jo­han­nes­burg, Pre­to­ria and OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Now the in­te­grated rail net­work is set to con­nect more Gaut­eng com­mu­ni­ties.

“The Gau­train is an in­te­gral part of our pub­lic trans­port sys­tem in Gaut­eng and has be­come a mode of choice for those who use it on a daily ba­sis. It is safe, con­ve­nient, quick, re­li­able and of­fers value for money,” says Jack van der Merwe, CEO of the Gau­train Man­age­ment Agency (GMA).

The 80km Gau­train route, with sta­tions in Jo­han­nes­burg, Rose­bank, Sand­ton, Marl­boro, Midrand, Cen­tu­rion, Pre­to­ria and Hat­field, plus a route east­wards to the air­port via Rhodes­field, opened three days be­fore the FIFA World Cup in 2010. It was com­pleted in 2012.

There is a 15km tun­nel run­ning be­tween Park and Marl­boro sta­tions, oth­er­wise it runs above ground, cross­ing free­ways in some places. It has 24-hour se­cu­rity, with over 600 CCTV cam­eras and over 400 se­cu­rity guards at sta­tions, car parks and aboard the trains.

The trains are ser­viced by 125 60-seater feeder buses and 12 25-seater buses, which pick up pas­sen­gers in the sub­urbs and take them to the Gau­train sta­tions.

The Gau­train op­er­ates on a smart card, al­low­ing seam­less trans­fers be­tween the train, the buses and parkades.

New routes

As a re­sult of its growth, new routes are planned, to broaden the reach of the Gau­train in the prov­ince. A fea­si­bil­ity study has been con­ducted, and it rec­om­mends the fol­low­ing net­work ex­ten­sions:

• A link be­tween Jab­u­lani via Cosmo City and Sam­rand to Mamelodi, with sta­tions in Rood­e­poort, Lit­tle Falls, Four­ways, Sun­ninghill, Olieven­hout­bosch, Irene, Tsh­wane East and Hazeldean.

• A link be­tween Sand­ton and Cosmo City with a sta­tion at Rand­burg.

• A link be­tween Rhodes­field and Boks­burg, with a sta­tion at the East Rand Mall and a pos­si­ble link-up with the OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port Mid­field ter­mi­nal devel­op­ment.

• A fu­ture link from Cosmo City to Lanse­ria Air­port.

Th­ese ex­ten­sions would be done in phases, through a pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship.The fea­si­bil­ity study has been sub­mit­ted to Na­tional Trea­sury and provin­cial Trea­sury for ap­proval.

The Gaut­eng govern­ment be­lieves that an ex­ten­sion of the Gau­train net­work, and the mod­erni­sa­tion of the Metro­rail rail sys­tem, must take place to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing ur­ban sprawl and un­sus­tain­able con­ges­tion on the prov­ince's roads and free­ways.

“This is our dream of a world-class rail sys­tem to even­tu­ally con­nect our peo­ple through­out Gaut­eng,” says Bar­bara Jensen, GMA Gau­train Man­age­ment Agency Se­nior Ex­ec­u­tive Man­ager of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Mar­ket­ing.

The Gau­train in­te­grates with Metro­rail trains at Jo­han­nes­burg's Park Sta­tion, the Rhodes­field Sta­tion stop be­fore the air­port, and Pre­to­ria Sta­tion.

So­cio-eco­nomic im­pact

The Gaut­eng MEC for Roads and Trans­port, Is­mail Vadi, said that the new train pro­ject is ex­pected to have a sig­nif­i­cant and pos­i­tive so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact in the prov­ince as the Gaut­eng provin­cial govern­ment will in­sist on at least 65 per­cent lo­cal con­tent by the suc­cess­ful bid­der.

The pro­ject is ex­pected to sus­tain 10 000 jobs in Gaut­eng and to­tal govern­ment rev­enue is to in­crease by an es­ti­mated R542 mil­lion in nom­i­nal terms be­tween 2019 and 2023.

The com­pany cho­sen to con­struct the new routes has promised pro­cure­ment com­pli­ance by the con­trac­tors, their sup­pli­ers and sub-con­trac­tors to meet eco­nomic devel­op­ment obli­ga­tions.

Fur­ther­more, an es­ti­mated R206 mil­lion is ex­pected to be chan­nelled to lower in­come house­holds through job cre­ation; a town­ship in­cu­ba­tion pro­gramme geared to­wards up­skilling; and pro­vid­ing sup­port to town­ship en­ter­prises by sub­con­tract­ing to them.

An In­de­pen­dent So­cio-Eco­nomic Mon­i­tor will en­sure that th­ese eco­nomic devel­op­ment obli­ga­tions are met.

So­cial In­vest­ment Pro­gramme

MEC Vadi an­nounced in Jan­uary this year that his depart­ment had cho­sen 32 ben­e­fi­cia­ries for the GMA's So­cial In­vest­ment Pro­gramme (SIP) fund. He said that “ap­prox­i­mately R35 mil­lion, which is a fixed amount, is be­ing dis­trib­uted amongst ben­e­fi­cia­ries with the bulk of the money go­ing to pro­grammes that are fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion.The GMA SIP fo­cus ar­eas are ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­nity care and en­vi­ron­ment.”

The 32 ben­e­fi­cia­ries were se­lected from 83 ap­pli­cants, based on how they would en­hance the so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal land­scape of com­mu­ni­ties in the prov­ince. Of the 32 ben­e­fi­cia­ries, seven are ed­u­ca­tion projects, and the rest are com­mu­nity care and en­vi­ron­ment ini­tia­tives.

“The ac­qui­si­tion of 12 new trains over the next 36 months will help to al­le­vi­ate con­ges­tion that Gau­train pas­sen­gers ex­pe­ri­ence in the morn­ing and evening peaks.”

“The ed­u­ca­tion projects are teacher–learner devel­op­ment pro­grammes in Math­e­mat­ics, Sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing and in cer­tain [cases] a max­i­mum of three years' fund­ing is pro­vided to spe­cific ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

“An ex­am­ple of a pro­ject type in this cat­e­gory is TRAC South Africa which sup­ports Sci­ence, Ap­plied Math­e­mat­ics and tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion in South African sec­ondary schools.The pro­gramme en­ables and en­cour­ages learn­ers to enter into ca­reers in sci­ence, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy,” he ex­plained.

Com­mu­nity care projects are those that fo­cus on farm­ing ini­tia­tives, or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren,

women em­pow­er­ment and cen­tres for abused women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties.

Re­sound­ing suc­cess story

The R26.5 bil­lion Gau­train has been a re­sound­ing suc­cess story for Gaut­eng, not least for its clean coaches and punc­tual trains.

A 2014 eco­nomic im­pact study re­ported that 121 800 jobs were cre­ated dur­ing its con­struc­tion, run­ning from 2006 to 2012.This fig­ure rep­re­sents 2.5 per­cent of the to­tal for­mal em­ploy­ment in Gaut­eng in 2013.

Of those jobs, 34 800 were cre­ated di­rectly dur­ing con­struc­tion, while 87 000 jobs were cre­ated in­di­rectly through ser­vice sup­pli­ers.

The Gau­train contributed around R20 bil­lion to Gaut­eng's econ­omy dur­ing con­struc­tion, and since full op­er­a­tion, it has contributed some R1.7 bil­lion to the prov­ince's GDP.

Sev­eral busi­nesses moved their of­fices closer to the Sand­ton and Rose­bank sta­tions. This trans­lates into a

R10 bil­lion in­vest­ment in new de­vel­op­ments and up­grades to re­tail spa­ces around the sta­tions, and a

R12.9 bil­lion in­crease in prop­erty val­ues.

The first train ran in June 2010, from the air­port to Jo­han­nes­burg, and catered for the FIFA World Cup vis­i­tors that year. Now, seven years on, 24 trains ser­vice Gaut­eng com­muters.

In the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, 6 000 peo­ple were em­ployed by Gau­train.

New trains

Be­cause of in­creased pas­sen­ger de­mand, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing peak hours, MEC Vadi an­nounced re­cently that 12 new trains have been or­dered.

“The ac­qui­si­tion of 12 new trains over the next 36 months will help to al­le­vi­ate con­ges­tion that Gau­train pas­sen­gers ex­pe­ri­ence in the morn­ing and evening peaks,” he said.

“Three suc­cess­ful pre-qual­i­fied bid­ders for the new rolling stock have been named: Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion, CRRC E-Loco Sup­ply and Egoli Rail Con­sor­tium,” he added.

Con­ces­sion agree­ment

The Gau­train is run by the pro­ject's pri­vate part­ner, the Bombela Con­ces­sion Com­pany, which has a 20-year con­ces­sion agree­ment with the Gaut­eng govern­ment, with a 15-year op­er­at­ing and main­te­nance ar­range­ment.

The orig­i­nal 2005 Con­ces­sion Agree­ment with Bombela in­di­cated that the amount of rev­enue from pas­sen­gers would not cover the rev­enue re­quired to run the train. As a re­sult, the Gaut­eng prov­ince pro­vides rev­enue sup­port in the form of a

Pa­tron­age Guar­an­tee.

“To date, the rev­enue from pas­sen­gers has been enough to cover Bombela's op­er­at­ing and main­te­nance costs and is close to that fore­cast at the time,” says Jensen.

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