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From Tuesday the Gautrain will bring joy to thousands of frazzled Joburgers who face the daily battle of driving to and from Pretoria.
For those who use the train, there’s the obvious advantage – a quick hassle-free ride that takes the strain out of the journey.
And for those who spurn the train, there’s hope that the highway traffic will be significantly cut.
Gautrain experts predict a 20 percent reduction in traffic on the Ben Schoeman freeway between Joburg and Pretoria soon.
This means 25 000 to 30 000 fewer cars on that stretch of road each day. It usually carries about 150 000 vehicles in each direction.
Gautrain commuters wanting to ditch the traffic in favour of a fast train ride have been awaiting the opening of the Gautrain’s Joburg-Pretoria route for months. From today, their hopes become reality when the new route, operating between the Hatfield and Rosebank stations, kicks off at 5.30am.
The stations were opened to the public and commuters over the weekend, enabling them to purchase tickets in anticipation of today’s new route opening.
Figures for the number of tickets already sold were not immediately available, but Gautrain Management Agency spokeswoman Barbara Jensen said sales “went quite well”.
The service was to open at 5.30am and stop at 8.30pm, when the trains pull in at the end of their last trips. The service will also operate on weekends, both from Rosebank and Pretoria. Trains will run at 12-minute intervals during peak periods on weekdays between 5.30am and 8.30am, and between 4pm and 7pm, and at 20-minute intervals during off-peak hours. The trains will run at 30-minute intervals on weekends.
The cost is R46 for a single trip between Rosebank and Pretoria, R417 for a seven-day pass (about R41.70 a trip) and R1 633 for a 35-day trip (about R37 a trip).
The bus system will be fully operational along the stations. Tickets will cost R6 one way.
Also planned is a bus service between Rosebank and Park stations, so commuters will have to make alternative arrangements to get into the CBD for the time being.
Jensen said the bus service would be running “soon” and would also cost R6 per single journey. There will be no bus service on weekends and public holidays.
The section of Gautrain track between Rosebank and Park stations could not be opened because of a water seepage problem.
Last week the management agency said it hoped the Park station-Rosebank section would be opened by the end of the year and that the delay was a “precautionary measure to ensure that the highest passenger safety standards are adhered to while engineering works are in progress”.
The remedial works are being done to minimise the water seepage and will include drilling small diameter holes through the tunnel floor and injecting low-viscosity grout into the surrounding rock.
The cost of undertaking this additional engineering will be paid for by Bombela, the consortium constructing and operating the Gautrain, and not the province.
The agency has said that although the water leaks in the Rosebank-Park station section are not within the contract specifications, the entire system, including the tunnel section between Rosebank and Park stations, is completely safe. This was borne out by the fact that the Railway Safety Regulator issued an operating permit last month.
* Where you can get more info: Commuters can visit www.gautrain.co.za or www.gautrain.mobi, or phone 0800 GAUTRAIN or 0800 4288 7246 for more information. There are also information guides available at all stations.- The Star
* Share your Gautrain experience and pictures with us at ReaderPics@inl.co.za.
Its finally a step in the right direction. But they could have made the cost less, so that the poorer among us can also afford it...
they are plans to extend the operating hours from 5:00 to 10pm if demand is high enough its been in planning since last year
May reduce traffic in those areas but its certainly not helping traffic on Oxford road - perhaps they should have finished up construaction and moved the giant concrete barriers before opening the station!!!
"running time not suitable for Jhb bussiness" True. flying out of Cape TownDurban to ORTIA at 18:0019:00 respectively. Won't catch the service. Please do your feasibilities right Gautrain.
Ray Lahana, wrote
Anna Cox should take a drive to Midrand and notice that the clover leaf has been completed and the traffic jams getting on and off the freeway are in the past. The picture on the article is also misleading, showing the Allandale offramp as it was three years ago
"The section of Gautrain track between Rosebank and Park stations could not be opened because of a water seepage problem." Is there a link to the acid mine water problem?
Only one drawback and that is the time of the last train. Its impossible for hard working business people to use Gautrain for day trips to Cape town or Durban because you cant catch the last flights and still get a train. I can only use the train about 30% of the time although I would always use it if it ran until 10pm. Why do they close so early? I hear this complaint from most of my fellow passengers.
its so relaxed I wl pay for my trip its nt a failure it took me less than 45min to get to work with my car I took 3to 4 hrs viva goutrain viva
why can they not open a route straight from soweto to Pretoria via midrand or mid lower vaal via mid vaal to joburg. Majority of commuters are concetrated in areas where there not even plans to open Gautrain routes. Increase the net work of this gautrain. North gate has to be connected. Its not something that has to be concebtrated in central parts only. Good and affordable transport is a right to every citizen it not a previlage.Look at Mid vaal some places do not even have a school or a clinic how do habitants of these places live. Shame on selective development plans.
Go Gautrain, hopes it really brings down the traffic.
Too expensive and not enough stations.
"Their hopes become reality"?! This is like PR on steroids. What is it doing in the newspaper? Does Anna Cox work for the Gautrain operator?
I used the Gautrain this morning to travel to Hatfield. It was one of the nicest experiences of getting to work I have ever had. Completely relaxing, staff were friendly and very helpful.
There's already alot of traffic from homes to areas around the stations. Won't that increase with the buses or even worse people who don't live on the feeder bus routes and have to drive to the stations?
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