3 June 2010

Gautrain sets the gold standard in public transport

The Gautrain, a rapid rail transport system that provides a dedicated service between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton, Johannesburg, carries its first public passengers 3 days ahead of the start of the FIFA 2010 World Cup™. It’s an historic event that marks the realisation of a dream to provide reliable, affordable, state-of-the-art transport for airline passengers and Gauteng commuters.

Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport station Gautrain at OR Tambo International Airport station

Gautrain will change the face of public transport – not only in Gauteng but also in the rest of South Africa - Nomvula Mokonyane, Gauteng Premier

The first Gautrain has departed the OR Tambo International Airport station at 5.30am on June 8 2010, stopping en-route at the Rhodesfield and Marlboro stations.

The 19.08km trip between the airport and Sandton station takes less than 15 minutes to complete, excluding time at each station for passengers to board or alight, with the train reaching speeds of 160km per hour.

The train and bus service will operate from Monday to Sunday. During peak periods, 5.30am to 8.30am, the train will run every 12 minutes, every 20 minutes during off-peak times, 8.30am to 4.00pm, and every 30 minutes on weekends.

A trip from Sandton to the airport will cost R100.00 one way. Thereafter, fares start at around R16.00, and commuters will be able to select any combination of train and bus route options to suit them, including discounted weekly and monthly fares.

Foremost the Gautrain is a cashless transport system. All commuters will need to first obtain and activate a smart card – the Gautrain Gold Card - by loading money onto it. Gold Cards are available at a once-off cost of R10.00 from ticket offices at Gautrain stations. Commuters can load and top-up their cards at the ticket office using credit or debit cards, or cash. Commuters are urged to register their cards, so that if stolen or lost, the card can be blacklisted, or deactivated, and monies on the card refunded.

Bus rides, Gautrain parking, and train rides can all be paid for with the card, which automatically deducts the right fare or fee when touch-activated at an entry gate.
Ticket machines are touch-screen operated, with instructions in four languages, English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Sotho.

Secure parking is available at the 3 anchor stations at a cost of R9.50 for the first
24-hours, provided the train is also used. Gautrain parking facilities are open from 05:00am to 09:00pm, 7 days per week. All stations have a 15 minute free drop-off zone. OR Tambo International has no dedicated parking for the Gautrain. Normal airports parking fees apply, and cannot be paid for using the Gautrain card.

Hundreds of CCTV cameras provide recorded coverage of all stations, trains, and key locations along the route. All stations and parking areas have a 24-hour security guard presence. Stations have toilets, lifts, and emergency medical assistance.

Ensuring otherly-abled passengers also enjoy seamless public transport, ticket machines and the station platform environment is enabled for hearing and sight-impaired passengers. Every second Gautrain bus and rail car has wheelchair access. All trains and busses have electronic information boards and a public announcement system.

The Gautrain project is an initiative by the Gauteng Department of Transport that, together with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, aims to promote a new culture of public transport usage, and spur economic growth in the province.