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.”
Speaking at the Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) in Pretoria on Monday, he said growth in Gautrain ridership had increased faster than predicted, necessitating the new rolling stock.
“We’ll make an announcement on the winning bidder late this year, or early next year.”
He said the new rolling stock should be available within three years from this announcement.
Vadi noted that the Gautrain system was carrying 63 000 rail passengers a day, with 60% of this ridership 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 added that plans were afoot to expand the Gautrain network by 140 km of track and 19 new stations.
Tshwane would secure six new stations, Ekurhuleni three and Johannesburg ten.
The capital intensive project would, however, be too big to build as one project, and would be broken up in five packages, to be constructed over a period of 25 years.
Initial planning sees construction of the first phase starting in 2021.
Securing government funding for the multibillion-rand project could, however, be difficult within a constrained economy.
Speaking at a media conference at the SATC, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said national government would, in principle, support the expansion of the Gautrain system.
However, he emphasised that affordability would be a key issue in determining whether national government would provide funding to the project. The question of affordability linked not only to construction costs, but also to subsidies.
The Gautrain currently received around R850-million in subsidies a year.
Maswanganyi said his department was engaging the Gauteng government on what “an expansion of the Gautrain system would mean financially”.