Thursday, April 14, 2011

On the Gautrain

I finally took the Gautrain last Wednesday. The train is smooth and great to be in but I still think it was a kind of a waste to spend so much money on this project while even our own Metrobus in Jo'burg can't cater for its citiznes. Enough of my complaints.......I was on my way to the Airport (O.R. Tambo) and as a rule I had to get inside the Airport bound coach. Next to me was this wonderful black girl but who was going to Rhodesfield (Yes you heard me...she was going to Rhodesfield). When the train got there the door could not open and she was told that she has to go back to Sandton to take the right coach.

I asked the Security who was next to me if she cant get into the right coach at the Airport and he explained to me that No! I dont know why is thats the case, but I really think whoever who came with this idea is stupid or does this show that their fare (to Malboro/Rhodesfield) are under priced? Oh, talking of price, Gautrain prices from Hatfield to Jo'burg were unvailed on the 06th this month.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toll Road Debates Heating Up

There is no doubt that Jozi people are not happy with the new tolling system in Johannesburg. Yesterday Sbu said if people are not happy to pay the toll they must make use of taxis which was met with revolt by readers who said Sbu must try the taxi himself. Such a response from the Minister of Transport is not well thought me thinks and has to do with our Minister's arrogance. Surely Sbu knows how well taxis are hated in South Africa because of their perceived un-road worthiness, he could have came up with a better response. 

Nazir Alli, the CEO of SANRAL, an agency of the Department of Transport responsible for the implementation of the tolling of the roads is also not providing the public with satisfactory answers. Not that there are any that he can give to the public...people are mad that the taxes that they are paying are not being used to maintain the roads and there are just no alternative public transport available to their disposal. Its true...Gautrain, which was being tainted as an alternative to those who don't want to pay toll roads is not accessible to every Tom Dick and Harry, as Cosatu says. Sbu's response: "You are not forced to make use of alternative Routes". Sbu, are you aware of the extra costs this will have on CoJ?  At the moment JRA can't even fix a pothole within the specified time period. Anyway If you want alternative routes people, see the map below;

View New Roads to be Tolled and Alternative Routes in a larger map 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SANRAL New Toll System

What is your take on the new toll system? Are you going to pay or not?

Metrobus and Rea Vaya Drivers on a Striking Spree

Are the Metrobus (City of Johannesburg) and Rea Vaya striking workers ill advised or fighting for the legitimate issues? I do not have all the facts but I am concerned about what I have read up to so far especially regarding the Metrobus. For those who do not know, Metrobus mainly operates in traditionally old white suburbs in Johannesburg while Rea Vaya operates from Soweto to the CBD. Both these services serves the poor and the middle class....people without cars or access to other bus services as PUTCO (Putco serves mainly black people and operates from Soweto/East Rand/West Rand to the Southern suburbs of Johannesburg). They are said to be independent but they are financed by the City of Johannesburg


I read that some Metrobus workers are are not happy with their new schedule as reported here whereby they will start working for eight hours. Currently the bus drivers are said to be working for six to seven hours claiming overtime for any extra hours worked. This is disturbing considering the following;

  • Metrobus does not fill in their seats all the times;
  • Metrobus only operates between 6 am and 6 pm while its competitors (Putco) operates longer hours;
  • Metrobus drivers probably earn more than taxi drivers and other bus drivers (the reason why Rea Vaya drivers are also on strike);
  • The bus drivers steals monies from the company;
  • No profit is made by Metrobus forcing rate-payers to foot the bill while not serving all communities;and
  • The service is poor and not reliable.

Even more worrying is the behavior of those drivers who are striking who intimidated those who wanted to work. Do they forget that they have passengers who are the reason they are working? Will they not be the ones crying unemployment when the passenger numbers decreases down further? 

Rea Vaya

The drivers are said to be demanding that they get employed by the Council, the same Council that employs the Metrobus. Could it be because that they know that the Metrobus drivers earn more that they do? I suspect this to be the case and whether the council will meet their demands or not is not something to predict. But there is one thing for sure that needs to happen....Rea Vaya and Metrobus should just get merged. There is no point in running the two separate services while being financed by the same Municipality. Its a waste of money.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Master Rail Plan Likely to go ahead

If we cant run the current Metro Trains, what makes us think we can run the High Speed Trains? Who is going to use them? It worries me to know that there are people who are treating this High Speed Train project as if they are children. Like a kid, when daddy or mommy brings a new toy home, they quickly forget about the old toy and only play with the new one.

The cabinet is expected to give the nod later this year to the multibillion-rand high-speed rail network proposed as part of the National Transport Master Plan (Natmap), which is intended to cut congestion on the country’s roads and the cost of public transport.
A transport industry fundi said yesterday that the Natmap, which has the potential to drive up construction activity and job creation like the World Cup did, suggested a sequenced delivery process for the rail sector over a 20-year period.

The network will consist of high-speed rail projects from Johannesburg to Durban (566km); Johannesburg to Cape Town (1 264km); Johannesburg to Musina (520km) and a rail corridor between Tshwane and Moloto in Mpumalanga.
Mawethu Vilana, the deputy director-general for transport logistics and corridor development in the Department of Transport, said a feasibility study on the network was yet to be done. This would determine the project costs, funding options available and whether it was something that South Africa could afford.
Last year, reports estimated that the high-speed rail link between Durban and Johannesburg could cost $30 billion (R213bn). These reports also said the government was in talks with China Railway Group about building it.
Using the $30bn as a benchmark, if all the other links were built, the entire project could cost close to R1 trillion, judging by the distances alone.
Tony Twine, a senior economist at Econometrix, said costs would vary on each route depending on the engineering required. Twine said to drive around between cities as was the case now was not ideal for a modern traveller or commuter.
He said: “It makes a lot of these places reachable more conveniently and potentially cheaper than air travel. London to Germany’s Polish border is 1 200km, people need to see that these are big spaces and the faster you can get across them, the better.”
John Thompson, the chief executive of the Railroad Association of SA, said this was a good plan for the country.
“Pretoria to Moloto makes a lot of sense because it takes a lot of the buses off the roads and reduces accidents,” said Thompson. “But are you going to be able to fill the trains between Johannesburg and Cape Town?”
Thompson added that there were a lot of questions that remained unanswered, which he hoped the business plan for the network would clarify.
Romano Del Mistro of UCT’s department of civil engineering said: “There are also broader benefits of introducing high-speed rail, such as increasing economic opportunities through better access between major centres and the development of a rail stock component manufacturing industry.”
Of the four projects, the Durban to Johannesburg link would probably be the most viable in that it could compete with air travel. “International high-speed rail experience is that high-speed rail can compete economically on routes shorter than 1 000km.”
Freddie Mitchell, an economist from Efficient Group, said viability studies would have to be considered carefully because “looking at the tax base, it is difficult to see where the money will come from”.
Mitchell also questioned if there would be enough passengers to repay the investment.
Vilana said as part of the Natmap, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA had also identified the need for the recapitalisation of its fleet over the next 18 years.
Vilana said: “These projects and Transnet rail upgrades will be a major boost to socioeconomic development of our country, as well as a catalyst for job creation and the development of the railway industry in the country.
“The challenge we are facing is that most of our commuter rail system has reached the end of its lifespan.
“We believe that an ambitious programme of introducing new rail rolling stock and technology in our system is an absolute necessity and will protect our historical investment in the sector. There are major socioeconomic spin-offs from a comprehensive rail investment programme.
“A sustained programme over 20 years will create certainty and enable input manufacturers to retool factories and therefore create sustained local industrial activities.” - Slindile Khanyile

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thiefs killing the Jo'burg Economy?

Its a sad state we are in. Now thieves have turned to stealing our traffic lights in order to make extra monies. Traffic lights are said to be out of order in most intersections around Johannesburg after being vandalised and with the weather being not so nice with lots of rains, this will come as a blow to motorists who have to seat on their cars waiting at intersections.

Now reports says that there is a possibility that there is an inside job. Could it be the case? And if there is, could it be that the suppliers are also involved? I hope the culprits are found.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New parking system for Johannesburg

Soon you will not park for free in the streets of Central Jo'burg, Sandton, Rosebank and in Midrand. For a very long time, motorists in Jo'burg have been parking for free and it is said that some would leave their vehicles for hours without moving them causing other car owners not to find parking at all. It is true, getting a parking in Joburg will take you time during peak hours.

Not that the new system will mean you can find parking at any time. Well, the details of how it works are sketchy and there are no mention of if whether the system is intelligent to let the parking marshalls where the parking space is available. But the question that one need to know is where is the R7.50 that motorists will be charged be going to. Will it be used to cities or will it all go to the bonuses of the authorities?

I also hope that all stakeholders in the city centers were proparly involved in the decision making...and the R7.50 is fair. Talk of the stakeholders, already the existing informal parking assistance are said to be threatened. They should not be left to find other means of survival...they should be incorporated to the new system.

A new parking system allowing motorists to park on the side of the road will be rolled out to other areas of Johannesburg in the new year, the Johannesburg metro police said.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the system was piloted in Braamfontein at the beginning of December.
"There are wardens allowing motorists to park on the road side for a R7.50 fee per hour," he said.
He explained that motorists would be issued with a parking slip.