Bidding on the 12 new train sets to be supplied to the Gautrain rail system will begin in August, says Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi.
“We have shortlisted three bidders and they will now submit their formal bids.”
He says growth in Gautrain ridership has increased faster than predicted, necessitating the new rolling stock.
“We’ll make an announcement on the winning bidder later this year, or early next year.”
He says the new rolling stock should be available within three years from the day of the announcement.
Vadi notes that the Gautrain system carries 63 000 rail passengers a day, with 60% of this ridership being black.
“The Gautrain has been a highly successful private–public partnership (PPP) for us and we can use this model for any PPP in future.”
Vadi adds that plans are afoot to expand the Gautrain network by 140 km of track and 19 new stations.
Tshwane will secure six new stations, Ekurhuleni three and Johannesburg ten.
The capital-intensive project will, however, be too big to build as one project, and will be broken up into five packages, to be constructed over a period of 25 years.
Initial planning envisages construction of the first phase starting in 2021.
Securing government funding for the multibillion-rand project may, however, be difficult within a constrained economy.
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says national government will, in principle, support the expansion of the Gautrain system.
However, he emphasises that affordability will be a key issue in determining whether national government will provide funding for the project.
The question of affordability is linked not to only construction costs, but also subsidies.
The Gautrain currently receives around R850-million in subsidies a year.
Maswanganyi says his department is engaging the Gauteng government on what “an expansion of the Gautrain system will mean financially”.