Gauteng Legislature Roads and Transport Committee
Disclosures in the Gauteng Legislature Roads and Transport committee regarding the expansion of the Gautrain should be fully investigated as a matter of urgency.
The current, yet to be released, feasibility study will conclude that expansion is feasible given sufficient funds.
In the 2015/16 financial year the Gautrain enjoyed a subsidy of R1.56 billion. This is set to rise to R1.8 billion this year and consumes a sizeable portion of the Department’s R6.4 billion budget.
Whilst it is important to plan for the future transport needs of South Africa’s most populated province, it must be done in the most cost effective way possible while catering for the greatest number of passengers.
Gautrain fares are priced at too high a premium over PRASA rates, and cater for the more affluent, not for the majority of the provinces commuters.
Gautrain Management Agency
Auditor General staff criticised the Gautrain’s ridership contract, highlighting that it was poorly negotiated and stating that “even if the Gautrain was running 24/7/365 at full capacity the ridership guarantee would be payable”. This is strong criticism of the Department and its legal advisors.
Additionally, the underground network has only one tunnel which severely limits the number of train sets. The short-sighted approach of the designers, probably dictated by a huge escalation in construction costs from the original figure of R6-7 billion to over R32 billion, deserve to be criticised.
The Gautrain Management Agency is now hinting that only they can do extensions to the rail network as PRASA is still reeling from controversial purchase of locomotives which were too high for the overhead power lines.
The much needed rail links to the north-west of Johannesburg and Mamelodi to Naledi must enjoy priority
However, this cannot be done with an ailing fiscus. It cannot be resolved with the proposed Gautrain expansion plan, as high fares will continue to isolate the majority of commuters.
The DA will continue to monitor this issue to ensure that affordable transport services are prioritised over empire building exercises.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540