DA WANTS ANSWERS ON GAUTRAIN GLITCHES

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Roads and Transport spokesman

The DA in Gauteng is deeply concerned about the increasing reports of operational and security problems plaguing the Gautrain network.

I will write to the Chairperson of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Roads and Transport Committee Nomantu Ralehoka requesting a briefing by Gautrain operator Bombela and the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA).

Bombela and GMA must brief the committee on the issues covered in the media in the past two weeks, which include:

§ * A “technical hitch” yesterday morning which left 450 people stranded in a cramped and overcrowded train between Centurion station and Midrand for more than two hours and the alleged comedy of errors which ensued;

§ * Passengers waiting for almost an hour for the 16:40 train from Park Station on Monday last week, after which they were stuck in a train at Sandton Station for more than 30 minutes with no explanation;

§ * On the same day passengers at the Marlboro station waited for a train to Pretoria for about 45 minutes, the announcement on the automated system explaining that there were structural problems.

§ * The appearance of yet another sinkhole in Centurion close to an elevated section of the rail network;

§ * Alleged brutal treatment and detention of two women at the Sandton station last week Friday for their alleged violation of the Gautrain rules.

These problems are increasingly frequent since the opening of Park Station in Johannesburg last month. Feedback from commuters on the Hatfield to Park Station route also indicates that the peak hour trains are filled to capacity. This draws into question the planning by Bombela and capacity of the current operation to deal with the new line.

The Legislature must fulfill its oversight role. The Gautrain Project is managed as part of the Gauteng Department of Transport as one of the eleven Blue IQ projects initiated by the provincial government.

The committee must be briefed on the operational capacity and status of the Gautrain network and the impact of the Park station line. The committee must also be given details on the provision and training of security guards at the stations and on the trains, and the enforcement of the Gautrain rules.

The Gautrain project costs the province hundreds of millions of Rands annually. We must receive value for money and ensure that the project runs smoothly.

The Gautrain project must fulfill its primary objective of enhancing and supporting economic growth in the Province and generating employment.

It can only do so when it operates on par with the highest standards and when commuters are assured a safe, reliable and efficient public transportation network.

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