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The Transformation of the Public Transport System in SA: The Gautrain

Published on: 26 April 2015

As one of the leading motor insurance companies  in the country, MiWay has been privileged enough to watch the public transport system in South Africa continue to change, grow and expand. However, very few projects have made as big an impact as the Gautrain.

The Gautrain completely transformed the public transport system, providing citizens and tourists with a safe, reliable and convenient alternative to the other transport options are available in the country. Let us take a look at the process that was followed when constructing the Gautrain, how it revolutionised the Gauteng province, and what the future looks like in terms of possible expansion.

What is the Gautrain?

The Gautrain is a rapid transport train that has a network that spans approximately 80 km in total. It connects Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni and OR Tambo International Airport. Plans for the construction of the Gautrain were announced in 2000; however, the train only started operating ten years later in 2010, just in time for the FIFA World Cup. The railway boasts ten different stations around Gauteng, is able to travel at speeds of up to 160 km/h, and is estimated to transport up to 15 000 passengers every hour.

How was the Gautrain built?

The company that took the lead on the project was Bombela Concession Co. and construction began in mid-2006. The project consisted of two building phases. The first phase focused on building the section of the train that runs from OR Tambo International Airport through to Midrand and was estimated to take a total of 45 months to complete. The second phase included the construction of the remaining portion of the route, and was expected to take 54 months in total.

The controversy surrounding the project

Before and during the construction of the Gautrain, the government was met with plenty of criticism, mainly because it was thought that billions were being spent in an effort to please the rich, as opposed to doing something to help the poor. Despite initial controversy that surrounded the project, since beginning its operations, it has been a great success. Not only has it helped to ease pressure on the highways of Gauteng, it has also provided many people with a safe and convenient way in which to get from point A to B. It is estimated that the train transports approximately 50 000 people every week day. With this in mind, most would agree that the construction of the train was money well spent.

What’s next for the Gautrain?

Since 2013, the government has been in talks with regard to extending the Gautrain’s rail route. Possible new rail links include one from the Rhodesfield station to Boksburg, one from the Sandton station to Randburg, and one from the Park station to Westgate. It is hoped that these new expansions will be well underway, come 2019.

Whether you are a user of the Gautrain who parks their car in the allotted parking bays, or whether you still use your car to get to and from work each day, it is imperative that you ensure that your vehicle is well protected – which is why car insurance is essential. Contact MiWay today  to learn more or to receive a personalised quote for vehicle insurance. 

Ever wondered about the Gap Between the Public Transport System and the Automobile Industry? Click here to find out more.