Gautrain expansion feasibility study must be followed by meaningful Public Participation

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

Spokesperson on Roads and Transport

The DA welcomes any step that improves public transport in Gauteng.

The announcement by the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) that a feasibility study is to be carried out on expanding the Gautrain network should certainly be considered.

It is imperative that in carrying out the study the requirements for all public transport must be met. These include reliability, safety and punctuality and most importantly accessibility and affordability.

Whilst Gautrain performs well in the former three areas, the latter two are not its strong point. The question must be asked – could the same expansion not be performed by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) at more affordable rates?

The issue of running two non-compatible rail gauges in South Africa means that we are developing a system which cannot truly integrate with the far larger PRASA network. PRASA certainly transports passengers far more cheaply than Gautrain.

On completion of the feasibility study full public participation must be undertaken before the Gauteng taxpayer has to cough up more ridership guarantees  (about R800 million this year) which comes directly from the meagre R 6.1 billion provincial Roads and Transport budget.

A world class isolated “underground” system may be unaffordable in a province with decaying roads.