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Africa's first high-speed train 'Gautrain'
8 May 2010

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Pictures/Videos/Pictures-/Africas-first-high-speed-train/article showpics/5906715.cms


Johannesburg property company Bradford McCormack estimates the cost of the proposed new road tolls to a motorist driving by freeway from Johannesburg to the Pretoria CBD at R1,020 a month. Two years ago the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) estimated that use of the new R21bn Gauteng freeway system would cost in the region of 50c per km. Taking inflation into account, by the time tolling starts in April 2011, that "base rate" has moved up to 65c-68c per km according to SANRAL manager for tolling and traffic Alec van Niekerk. If the cost is only 65c a km, that Johannesburg-Pretoria trip is going to cost R1,300 a month.

This is the price we are going to pay for Gautrain, because unless punitive tariffs like these come into effect, it is highly doubtful that the planners' ambitious expectations for train patronage will come to pass.


All in the Name of the Beautiful Gain: On the World Cup in South Africa

South Africa desperately needs large-scale public infrastructure, especially in the area of public transport which is in some cities, including Johannesburg, is almost entirely absent. The Gautrain, which was launched on Tuesday the 8th June (just in time for the big event) is probably the biggest irony here: in a country where the large majority rely on unsafe private mini-bus taxis to travel long distances on a daily basis, the Gautrain offers high speed, luxury transport for tourists and those travelling between Johannesburg and Pretoria... who can afford it if a single trip between the airport and Sandton will set you back a massive R100.


Glitz, Glamour and the Gautrain: Mega-Projects as Political Symbols

(Only the abstract is free) Gautrain, South Africa's first high-speed metropolitan transport network, is being developed at a cost of nearly R25 billion. It is being primarily justified on the basis of its close association with South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup. However, the sheer scale of the costs involved, set against the larger and more pressing national transport shortages, invariably prompts questions about the rationale behind the construction of the Gautrain. Focusing on rational, cost-benefit considerations, and special interest groups on the one hand, and political symbolism on the other, the article concludes that political symbolism appears to be a major explanation for the construction of the Gautrain.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a792243496~jumptype=ref_internal~fromvnxs=v6 7n3s7~fromtitle=713405746~cons=

Red Cards for Fifa, Coke and South African Elites

New luxury transport infrastructure, for example, gambles on shifting rich people's behaviour away from private cars. But the $3 billion Gautrain rapid rail costs riders five times more than previously advertised and probably won't dislodge Johannesburg-Pretoria commuters, thanks to traffic jams and parking shortages at the new stations.

As labour leader Zwelinzima Vavi, put it, Gautrain "does nothing for those who really suffer from transport problems - above all, commuters from places like Soweto and Diepsloot. Instead, it takes away resources that could improve the lives of millions of commuters."



South Africa is sitting on a passenger rail time-bomb, write Clayton Barnes and Noelene Barbeau in the Daily News (published in Durban): "A third of the country's trains will be out of service by 2013. And if the government fails to secure new rolling stock by the end of the year, Metrorail's already stretched service will be under further pressure, resulting in more overcrowding on trains and longer delays. More than 280,000 passengers in KwaZulu-Natal make use of Metrorail's trains daily.

"The country's urban railway system will have totally collapsed within 10 years without the necessary recapitalisation. . . .

"He admitted that the country's commuter rail system was headed for disaster if the government did not buy new trains soon. `It doesn't make sense to keep refurbishing. It costs nearly as much as buying a new coach,' said Montana. "The current coaches are not built for the modern economy, and the levels of reliability are too low."

"But the Transport Department says it simply does not have the budget. Transport minister S'bu Ndebele acknowledged the need for more passenger trains, but said that there were other areas, such as roads, which also required huge investment.



by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Jun 16th, 2010 at 11:05:27 PM EST
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