The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link will be a new rail-bound mass transit system to serve the Johannesburg-Pretoria corridor as well as a link between Sandton and Johannesburg International Airport. Apart from the convenience, the project will provide a pivotal stimulus for economic and social development along Gauteng`s north-south axis with associated population concentration.
The 80 km network line will link Johannesburg, Sandton, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport and will have 10 stations. The distance between Pretoria Central and Johannesburg will be covered in less than 35 minutes at speeds of 160 kms an hour or more. It will be served by dedicated road-based feeder and distribution systems and park-and-ride facilities.
The Gautrain project is largely aimed at commercially active people that need to travel between Johannesburg, Tshwane and OR Tambo International Airport. Two key market segments are existing motorists and airport passengers.
The existing motorists will be the primary focus because of their large numbers and the importance of achieving a move away from private transport to relieve the increasing congestion on roads such as the Ben Schoeman Freeway. Given the planned network, the Gautrain will also attract airport passengers and workers on the link to OR Tambo International Airport.
Forecasts indicate a potential current ridership of about 100 000 passengers per day, which is well over the international norm for a new rail service. An expected annual growth of 4.8% will result in more than 120 000 passengers per day by 2010.
The Gautrain commuter fares will be lower than the perceived cost of using a car. It will, however, be more expensive than existing rail and taxi fares as the new train will offer a higher quality service. Airport passengers’ fare will be higher than the rate per kilometre charged on other services. The fare structure was developed in relation to existing taxi fares, bus fares and private car cost.
The Sandton-OR Tambo International Airport rail service will take airline passengers between the two points in less than 15 minutes, whereas the trip between Johannesburg and Tshwane will be less than 40 minutes.