Monday, September 27, 2010

Gautrain marks 1 million passengers - a success or failure?

Last Wednesday, 22 September 2010 Gautrain reached its 1 million passengers mark since its inception few days before the FIFA World Cup. According to Gautrain, the milestone coincided almost exactly with 100 days of operation. It is not known if the 1 million is based on the number of passengers who made use of the train or the number of tickets bought. If it is the latter, then it should be a concern because we all know that not everyone who buys a ticket to the movies do not necessarily watch the movie.

Now, lets check how many people were transported (average) in each day the trains operated;

1 million/100 days = 10 000 average passengers per day. As expected, most of the passengers were carried during the World Cup when 400 000 passengers were carried between OR Tambo and Sandton in its first month. This translates to 13 000 average passengers carried per day in the first month.

With international trains carrying more passengers than what Gautrain is carrying currently, can this be considered to be a failure? Considering that it was estimated that 104 000 passengers per day will be carried and the link between Hatfield to Malboro and from Braamfontein to Sandton City is not yet operational, then one should not be quick to think that. Assuming that the average 10 000 passengers carried currently remains, the questions to be raised is whether the remaining lines will carry the remaining 94 000 passengers.

For now, I can not tell and we will have to wait until the line is built. But a quick guess tells me that the 94 000 passengers will be hard to be achieved. Here are the reasons why I think so;
  • First, most South Africans just love being in their cars, so convincing them to get out of them to shared seats will be a mountain to climb even when roads are going to be tolled;
  • I am not sure how many people get sponsored by the companies via car subsidies, but those who are will not leave their cars as new toll roads will be easily be absorbed;
  • For those who will be burdened by toll roads will find alternative routes to avoid the toll roads - which lead to more damaged local roads (what are the local authority planning to do about this is not known) - see map below;

But like I said before, one should wait for April 2011 (note: Gautrain's website list the operational date as 06/2011), when the second phase of the Gautrain is completed.


Anonymous said...

if you ever used Gautrain you'll know that they don't sell tickets, but u have a card where u can load any amount of money, depending where you get off, you'll then swipe your card to deduct an amount from your departing station to your arrival station, so you don't buy any ticket, but load money, which means the 1 Million they're talking about are passengers who passed the gates(as in swiping their cards)

Googling said...

Could be but then without them telling us how they arrived to that conclusion we can only guess and your guess sounds reseanable.

If thats the method used, I just hope they did not include the swipes done by Gautrain Personnel (including security, cleaners), who seems to outstrip passengers :)