INFRASTRUCTURE: Study Of Cape's Rail Networks
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town will shortly begin working on a comprehensive study of Metrorail to determine the scope and quality of rail services within the metropolitan area. This will be done with a view to ultimately improving the integration of all modes of public transport and in anticipation of the possible devolution of the rail subsidy to the City.
The City believes that a more integrated rail and public transport network is needed to better serve Cape Town residents and to build a more connected city. As the backbone of public transport in Cape Town, the Metrorail network requires an upgrade to ensure that it is safer, consumer-friendly and more reliable.
The City is undertaking this study as National Government is seeking, in terms of the National Land Transport Act No.5 of 2009, to devolve responsibility for all modes of public transport to metropolitan transport authorities. The devolution of oversight for public transport will assist the City in improving the alignment of road-based and rail transport according to local needs.
Furthermore the City, as the transport authority, will act as a regulator and will be responsible for overseeing, monitoring and holding the rail operator accountable for the quality of service.
Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater, has written a letter to the National Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Joel Ndebele, informing the minister that the City is undertaking a due diligence study of the rail network in Cape Town.
“This comprehensive study will enhance our understanding of the context of the current rail operations, future demand and investment. The City’s vision is to assimilate the different modes of public transport: rail, bus, mini-bus, metered taxi and non-motorised transport. The ultimate end goal is a fully integrated public transport network across the whole city which would mean the residents will have easily accessible public transport available to them, and have far shorter distances to travel to places of work, leisure and study,” said Councillor Herron.
“Whilst the City currently has limited influence over the rail service our ultimate goal is to see a vast improvement in the capacity and quality of the Metrorail offering. We anticipate that the devolution of the rail subsidy, as well as the oversight function, will vastly improve our influence over the service and will enable us to work towards improving the commuters’ experience and its integration with other services.
“The planned due diligence study will comprise of two phases. The first is an overview of integrated rail services in Cape Town, including international precedents, funding regimes, future investment and additional capacity. There also needs to be a study of the feasibility of devolution of the operating rail subsidies, including existing operational systems, ticketing, operational management structure and safety, which should lead to the preparation of a viable business plan for the City as the authority over Metrorail,” added Councillor Herron.
The National Land Transport Act provides for the establishment of an Intermodal Planning Committee to:
· set service level planning for passenger rail to enable holistic integration of road and rail-based services with all aspects of the Integrated Transport Plan of the City; and
· to establish an Integrated Public Transport Network.
In order to move forward with this project, an Inter-governmental Transport Political Committee will be formed in October, chaired by Councillor Herron. The committee will meet every two months to oversee the process of consolidating public transport under one authority.
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