Gautrain to introduce Soweto route

By Thembelani Moyo

Transport woes could soon be a hitch of the past as Gautrain has completed a feasibility study to introduce a route to Soweto and areas around west of Johannesburg.

This is part of expanding the Gautrain rail network which has been put to proposal by the Department of Roads and Transport and plans are to increase it by 150km.
Gautrain Management Agency Acting Senior Executive Manager for Communication and Marketing Dr Ingrid Jensen said their feasibility study is yet to be approved by the National Treasury.

“The Gautrain Management Agency has completed a feasibility study for the Gauteng Rail extension which will be submitted to National Treasury before end 2016,” Jensen said.  “The purpose of the feasibility study is to inform the decision to proceed with the Gauteng rail extensions and the preferred routes that should be developed,” Jensen added.

Gautrain Management Agency said there are benefits that Soweto could experience if the rail is extended to the area.

“There are a number of benefits such as the transformational impact on the Gauteng economy; the modernization of public transport; passenger access and mobility; improved spatial development; environmental impact, and other benefits such as job creation and poverty alleviation,” Jensen said.

According to Gautrain Management Agency extending the rail network is part of the Gauteng 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25), which identified rail as an essential component and backbone for an integrated and efficient public transport system in Gauteng.

Meanwhile, Gautrain Management Agency CEO, Jack van de Merwe, said: “If you do infrastructure planning you have to do long-time planning. You have to have 10-, 20-, 30-year plans. This is our planning; it is for central government to make the call if the funds should be allocated to the Gautrain.”