Ticket to ride

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Johannesburg - South Africa's high speed train has been granted its operating licence. .

The Gautrain will fully start ferrying passengers on Monday.

Facilitating the handover of the permit to Bombela - the operating company - on Wednesday, Transport Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin hoped that the Gautrain would change mindsets around public transport.

He also hoped that this would encourage the public to choose rail instead of road transport.

"Indeed this event has presented an opportunity that we can all draw lessons from. It has generated the energy and drive that this country will need," said Cronin who also enjoyed a ride on the train.

Bombela CEO Alain Esteve said Monday's operations will mark the beginning of a "new era in the company's existence."

"This permit is our commitment to put the safety of our customers and staff as our number one priority," he said.

Handing over the permit, Railway Safety Regular CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said the permit was issued against strict technical criteria to ensure compliance with all design and safety requirements.

The compliance involves ride comfort, journey time and environmental compliance, among other criteria.

"We remain positive that our collective efforts at improving safety will lead to the Guatrain that is safe, secure and on track," said Mofi.