Cape Town rail link explored
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Parliament - The country's commuter railway operator and the City of Cape Town are in talks to open a rail link between the airport and the city, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) told MPs on Tuesday.
Creating links to cities from both the Cape Town International Airport and the King Shaka International Airport in Durban would be priorities for the next few years, Prasa CEO Lucky Montana told Parliament's public services select committee.
The process for the Cape Town link was at a more advanced stage than the newer King Shaka Airport.
“We are not building a (new) line from the airport to Cape Town. We are connecting the city to an existing line,” Montana said.
A feasibility study had showed the project would “pay for itself”. A private sector operator would be brought in to run the line.
“We want a private operator who will bring their own rolling stock. We'll give them the infrastructure and they'll run the service,” he said.
“Even though it will be a Prasa initiative, and the station at the airport will be owned by Prasa, we want it to be privately operated and that's how it will pay for itself.”
Prasa would have to lay an additional 3.2km of railway tracks to connect it to the existing line.
“It would bring convenience, and we think Cape Town needs that, so we are working with the city as part of an overall plan,” he said.
“It's the way to go if you look at all the major cities in the world. Cape Town is one of the cities that attracts lots of people from outside.”
About nine million people pass through the city's airport per year. This number was expected to increase to around 13 million over the next few years.
“I think the MyCiti bus solution the city has put in place is very important as an intermediary solution, but in the long run we need to ensure that the numbers are on rail, that every 15 minutes you can connect to the city,” Montana said.
It was hoped the proposed railway link would help those employed at the airport and surrounds to travel to and from work from anywhere in the metropole.
Montana could not commit to when the new railway link would be up and running.
“We were ready two years ago... we've completed a feasibility study, and now it's between us and the City of Cape Town to negotiate and reach agreement and once we've concluded that agreement we'll be able to move.”
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