Economic growth continues to be one of the focus areas for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and the Gautrain responds to that through its socio-economic impact strategy. For every R1 spent on Gautrain, R1.72 has been added to the Gauteng economy. The recent independent Hatch impact study has concluded that the Gautrain continues to deliver jobs and investment in Gauteng.
The Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Mr Jacob Mamabolo, has recently alluded to Gautrain being in the forefront, as he examines ways of growing the economy through smart investments in transport, restructuring the urban form around transport nodes, the use of technology as an enabler of better and more efficient transport systems. This is a result of Gautrain’s positive contribution to spatial development, urban restructuring, economic growth, job creation and modal integration.
The GPG’s current strategic focus is economic growth and Smart Mobility as an enabler of the vision for growing Gauteng’s economy. Smart Mobility refers to the innovative ways of getting around. It involves the use of various transport modes that are smarter, cleaner, safer and integrated and that moves people, goods and services more efficiently. It promotes sustainable mobility and is coupled with numerous urban, social, economic and environmental benefits. Gautrain is such a Smart Mobility service. It uses latest technology; it safely and comfortably moves people to their destinations though an environmentally friendly transport option. The Gautrain is supported by an integrated network of other buses, midi-buses, Bus Rapid Transport systems and other rail services.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many changes to society including changes in travel regulations and social gatherings. Gautrain has demonstrated that it is cognisant of these changes through its responsive actions that was approved by the National Minister of Transport during his visit to Gautrain. The following health and safety measures are part of actions implemented and are still in place:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are available at all stations, buses and midibuses;
- Regular cleaning protocols are in place, i.e. trains, buses and midi-buses are cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals throughout the day. Special cleaning staff are deployed at stations to wipe-down and disinfect touchpoints, such as handrails; fare gates and other surfaces,
- In ensuring that social distancing is adhered to, all stations have floor decals to assist passengers to keep clear and required distances;
- Seats on trains, buses and midi-buses have been cordoned off to allow for social distancing;
- The use of face masks is compulsory on Gautrain just as it is in all public transport modes and public areas. All passengers and staff are required to wear a face mask at all times at stations and onboard trains, buses or midi-buses. Security guards monitor this;
- All staff in direct contact with customers are screened for Covid-19 ahead of resuming their normal duties. Staff is screened for fever throughout the day; and
- Staff is required to wear the respective personal protective equipment as stipulated by government regulations.
- Detailed information on health and safety measures, is available at www.gautrainalerts.co.za/.
After ten years of operation and close to 125 million train passenger trips and 38 million bus passenger trips, Gautrain matters for Gauteng, the service not only continues to offer safe, reliable and convenient public transport but contributes significantly to the economy and society.