Analysts rule out Moloto rail link
BY ANDISWA MAQUTU: 08 SEPTEMBER 2016, 05:35
There is no business case for a R 35bn rapid rail link in the Moloto Corridor between Pretoria and Mpumalanga, transport analysts said on Wednesday.
Moloto Road is notorious for bad motor accidents and the government has come under wide pressure to improve its safety and provide alternatives.
On Wednesday, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) signed an agreement with China Communications Construction Company for a number of infrastructure projects including the Moloto Rail Development Corridor.
The agreement was signed during an Africa investment forum attended by President Jacob Zuma in Guangzho, China.
Transport economist Andrew Marsay said the number of people living along the corridor was too small to sustain a commuter railway line.
The corridor was used only by 40,000 commuters a day, while a rail line needed 100,000 commuters a day to be sustainable.
“There is no business case of any kind for a railway on Moloto Road. It is only sustainable for people to live there and travel the long distance to work because of the highly subsidised buses,” he said.
“It [the railway] will only benefit the people providing the rolling stock and the railway.”
Transport analyst Paul Browning said while it was understandable that the government wanted to build a railway in the corridor, it would emphasise apartheid spatial planning by continuing to have people travel 80km just to get to work.
He said operating costs were unlikely to be met by revenue from fares as the service would largely be for low-income workers.
“One has to ask how likely it is that there will be developments along the corridor,” he said.
In 2014, former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said the biggest challenge for the rapid rail link in the Moloto Corridor was getting funding from the Treasury for the R 35bn project. Prasa’s feasibility study showed the rail infrastructure would cost R 20bn.
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