Gautrain marks 14 years of operations

Sunday, June 9, 2024

As Gautrain marks 14 years of operations, Gautrain Management Agency Chief Executive Officer, Tshepo Kgobe has described the high-speed rail network as a trailblazer in the South African rail and public transport sector.

In June 2010, the Gautrain saw the first ride for commuters leave the Sandton Station for O.R. Tambo International Airport, just in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Highlighting some of the Gautrain project successes, Kgobe said since it started operating on 08 June 2010, the project has successfully completed approximately 192.8 million passenger trips.

“The idea of a high-speed rail network with an 80-kilometre route between the North, South, and East of the Gauteng province, sounded like a pipe dream to many when the Gauteng Provincial Government announced it. Fourteen years later, 1 500 staff are employed across operations and administration of the Gautrain project and we have managed to maintain an average of more than 90% availability and punctuality across all Gautrain services. 

“The Gautrain’s transport network includes 10 stations that connect Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni, and O.R. Tambo International Airport, 96 rail cars (24 x4 electric multiple units), a fleet of 125 heavy haul buses, and 29 midibuses. In many ways, the Gautrain is a trailblazer in the South African rail and public transport sector…it is the first and only rapid rail network in the country, and it was the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of its scale in South Africa when it was launched,” Kgobe said. 

On the 14th anniversary of Gautrain’s launch, and in a year that South Africa marks 30 years of democracy and freedom, Kgobe maintained the Gautrain has proven to be more than just a transport project saying it “it is playing a bigger role in transforming spaces, people, and the economy through mobility.”

“The Gautrain has brought jobs, new skills, the easing of mobility for ordinary people, and major economic developments around stations. It is estimated that R46 million total GDP [gross domestic product] impact has been added to the Gauteng Provincial Government economy and a total of 245 000 jobs have been created due to property development induced by the Gautrain.

“The Gautrain is a strategic national asset valued at R45 billion, and once the current concession expires at the end of its 19.5-year term, the costs of establishing this long-term asset will have been paid off, allowing the Post 2026 Gautrain Project to reap the economic benefits. With a shared vision and strong team effort, a dream of a world-class public transport system became a reality,”Kgobe said.

Kgobe also announced that the current concession agreement between the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Bombela Concession Company comes to an end in 2026, and the Gautrain Management Agency has already gone to market to invite bids for the next concessionaire. 

He added that the new delivery partner will operate, maintain, modernise, innovate, and upgrade the current Gautrain system so that it continues to provide a safe and efficient public transport service. –