Gautrain upgrades to meet capacity demands

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and Gautrain Management Company CEO Jack van der Merwe announced short and medium-term interventions to address overcrowding during peak periods, and to extend the service to more commuters.

“The Gautrain service continues to receive very high customer satisfaction ratings as reflected in the monthly customer satisfaction surveys,” Vadi said.

Vadi said in the next three months two four-car trains would be replaced by two eight-car trains during the morning peak times, thereby doubling the seating capacity.

The operating hours of the Gautrain Airport Service between Sandton and OR Tambo stations will be extended to 30 minutes earlier and 35 minutes later on weekdays.

Furthermore, parking at the Sandton Station will be kept open until midnight to enable airline passengers with delayed flights to access their vehicles at night.

In the next six to nine months, the Gautrain’s seating would be reconfigured to accommodate more passengers and 10-minute headways would be implemented, resulting in an additional train per hour during peak periods.

It would also look into a short-turn train service between Centurion and Sandton stations.

Additional parking at Rhodesfield and Midrand stations and negotiation of possible park and ride facilities are also on the cards.

In the next 12 to 24 months, there will be additional parking at Pretoria Station, which is dependent on environmental impact assessments and traffic impact assessments.

There are also plans to create 1000 additional parking bays at Centurion Station and extend the OR Tambo Station platform to four-and-a-half carriage lengths for increased capacity.

According to Van der Merwe, the improvements were already budgeted for in the Gautrain’s medium-term budget.

However, other improvements, which include new rail carriages and proposed new routes and stations, would first need to be outlined in a business case.

The long-term plan will include a rapid rail link, including Gautrain and its extensions.

These extensions will be from the existing Gautrain Park Station to Westgate in the Johannesburg CDB and link from the existing Rhodesfield Station to Boksburg.

A new rapid rail link from Naledi in Soweto to Mamelodi, via a new Samrand Station or the existing Midrand Station is also planned.

This extension would include stations at Blue Hills, Sunninghill, Fourways, Cosmo City and Ruimsig.

Additionally, a link from the existing Sandton Station to Randburg and Honeydew is expected.

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

Simone Samuels

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