Special Gautrain service coming to Centurion

A new special Gautrain service between Centurion and Sandton is on the cards. It will be introduced as soon as the new trains are delivered. Photo: Supplied

Andrew Ngozo

The Gautrain will introduce a special service between Centurion and Sandton to deal with the peak-hour demand.

This was meant to reduce congestion on the route which had seen a surge in commuter numbers, said Gauteng transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi said this week.

Vadi said Gautrain would acquire 48 new coaches to cater for the growing number of commuters at a cost of about R3.5 billion.

“We will source them from within South Africa in order to promote the local economy. Any, and all, payments will be made in rand,” said Vadi.

Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe said the service had reached the projected year 2020 passenger levels much sooner than anticipated due to rising peak-hour commuter numbers.

“The Gautrain has experienced 26% growth year-on-year and has 96 coaches. The system is full and choking at the moment,” said van der Merwe.

He said once the coaches were operational, many changes would come.

“The new additional coaches will enable us to run shorter services – we are going to run from Centurion to Marlboro, Centurion to Sandton, and then have a short turnaround so we can carry more passengers during peak periods,” said van der Merwe.

Gautrain was considering extending its operational times, but only after the new coaches were in service.

Van der Merwe said: “We are looking at extending our times and we’ll have the flexibility once we have the extra stock. However we will look at going even maybe three-quarters of an hour earlier in the morning, and then extending by maybe an hour at night.”

The Development Bank of SA has extended a R3.5 billion loan facility to Gautrain which Vadi said would be repaid through revenue.

“Any project of this scale is going to be key, and if it does not have a socioeconomic impact, we are cutting ourselves short. We expect that this new project will create about 9 000 new jobs,” said Vadi.

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