More than 400,000 passengers travel on Gautrain during the Soccer World Cup
All predictions of ridership of Bombardier’s Gautrain have been greatly exceeded during the system’s first month of operations whilst the World Cup was in full swing. While the eyes of the world were on South Africa, a staggering 400,000 people used the new trains to travel between Johannesburg’s commercial district at Sandton and the OR Tambo International Airport.
Gautrain’s operator, the Bombela Concession Company, had expected around a third of that number during June. Its Chief Executive, Jerome Govender told the media: “Demand was such that on our first weekend of operation we had to increase the frequency of the trains from every 30 minutes to every 12 minutes to meet the demand. We were carrying about 20,000 passengers on weekends.”
Bombardier’s Vice-President for Gautrain, Dave Barry, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Gautrain is proving such a hit with passengers in South Africa. The World Cup was a fantasic showcase for Gautrain’s early launch and I’m exceptionally proud of the Bombardier team that made this dream a reality and enabled us to open the system early, proving our commitment to exceeding expectations. We now look forward to opening the rest of the system to Johannesburg centre and up to Pretoria during 2011.”
Bombardier Transportation’s facility in Derby, United Kingdom, manufactured the BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR fleet of trains. Fifteen complete vehicles were exported to South Africa and the remaining 81 vehicles have been supplied as flat pack deliveries of roof, underframe, cab and intermediate end modules, for final assembly in South Africa.
The current 20km route is due to be extended to connect Johannesburg with South Africa’s capital, Pretoria via ten stations along 80km of dual track. Signs that Gautrain would prove a success came early as it attracted 1,000 passengers in its first hour of operation on June 8. Bombardier Transportation had significantly accelerated its programme of works in order to enable South Africa to welcome World Cup visitors with Gautrain. Scheduled completion of the remainder of the project is during 2011.
Bombardier Transportation, as a member of the Bombela Consortium, was awarded a contract by the Gauteng Provincial Governement of South Africa in September 2006.
Bombardier’s overall contract scope includes the design and supply of 96 ELECTROSTAR vehicles and the BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 250 train control technology. In conjunction with its Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment partners, Bombardier is also supplying the power supply and distribution systems, communications systems, automatic fare collection, track work and maintenance equipment, as well as project management, systems engineering and integration, and testing and commissioning. The partnership also will be involved in maintaining the system during the 15-year operating period following construction. The civil contractors are responsible for all of the civil works, including tunnels, stations and the maintenance depot.
One of the key elements of the Gautrain Project is the Social Economic Development (SED) program. This requires Bombardier to meet various obligations in terms of local employment and procurement. Bombardier to date has achieved all of its obligations and will exceed the remainder during the construction period. The Bombardier project team comprises of around 90% South African employees, with the remaining 10% participating in intense skills transfer programs.