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Troubled Gautrain working on plan to increase customer base

Gautrain says it’s not able to carry all its passengers, especially during morning peak periods.

FILE: Picture: @Gautrain/Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG – Gautrain is blaming the decrease in ridership on capacity constraints, the low rate of economic growth and the ongoing violence between government metered taxi and e-hailing services.

The carrier is facing a financial uphill battle and needs a R1.5 billion injection from the government for the 2019/2020 financial year.

While the company entered into a R27 billion concession with the government for a period of 20 years, its monthly grant has ballooned from R800 million per annum in 2008 to R1.5 billion last year.

Gautrain says it’s not able to carry all its passengers, especially during morning peak periods.

It says that many passengers are avoiding the Gautrain because of the ongoing violence between metered taxis and e-hailing services at pivotal stations like the airport.

Gautrain also says that its bus service has lost riders due to road traffic congestion.

The carrier says that due to the rail strikes last year, some commuters have stopped using the train altogether.

But Gautrain management says they are working on a plan to increase its customer base.

They will be increasing the frequency of trains, extending operating hours and introducing minibus taxi services at various stations in a bid to augment the number of feeder and distribution routes around stations.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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