By: Natasha Archary
Bad news for commuters who rely heavily on public transport as the Gautrain Management Agency puts a halt on the Soweto and Cosmo City expansion plan.
With an 80% decline in passenger demand, the speedy luxury commuter train agency no longer finds it necessary to invest in more trains either.
Trains were to be bought from the UK when passenger numbers looked like they would grow since the trains were launched during the FIFA World Cup in June 2010.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest factor to the decision, with the various lockdown levels impacting passenger demand. Gautrain capacity is currently only at 20% compared to pre-COVID numbers which saw most trains full during peak hours.
The proposed expansion plans are still on the table due to the initial 30-year project plan but it is not likely to commence in 2024 as expected. The Gautrain Management Agency projects that it could take up to 3 years for passenger demand to fully recover.