Gautrain- It is Here!

Wow, really cut it fine, only opening their service from Sandton/Marlboro to OR Tambo International Airport one week before the start of the Soccer World Cup. For those who have been waiting patiently for this service, it’s a welcome start to accessible and safe transport for everyone!

There are three components to this System: trains, buses and parking facilities. All station environments, as well as the trains and the buses, are designed to provide easy access for the mobility impaired and to accommodate sight and hearing impaired passengers. Wheelchair access is provided to all trains, buses, stations, toilets, lifts, fare gates, ticket offices and ticket vending machines. Non-slip surfaces, handrails and handholds assist people with difficulties in walking, gripping, reaching or balancing. The blind and partially sighted are aided by the use of colour contrasts, clear signage, good lighting and non-reflective surfaces. There are audible, as well as visual service announcements, tactile and audible guidance and warning surfaces and systems, where appropriate. The hearing impaired are catered for with visual as well as audible announcements and there are induction loops (earphone jacks) at ticket vending machines.

How do you use this system?Gautrain’s train, bus and parking services are all fully integrated and may be used separately or jointly - by transferring from one to another. They are accessed by means of a contactless smart card: your Gautrain Gold Card. You can access the station parking facilities without a Gautrain Gold Card (you’ll be issued with a paper ticket), but you will need a valid Gautrain Gold Card to use either the trains or the buses. Please note that cash is not accepted on either the trains or the buses or at parking exit gates.

Gautrain Gold Cards may be purchased from all ticket offices and ticket vending machines at any Gautrain station as well as at selected retail outlets in the vicinity of the bus routes. Ticket vending machines display instructions in four languages and are equipped with earphone jacks for the hearing-impaired.

Your Gautrain Gold Card enables you to load a variety of different journey products (ranging from single trips to a monthly pass) onto the same card and to re-use this card over and over again. You can load journey products using cash, debit cards or credit cards at all ticket offices and ticket vending machines at any Gautrain station. You can also register your card, enabling Gautrain to blacklist your card should it be lost or stolen. Any unused value in the Purse section of the lost card will then be transferred to a new card for you. Please note that there is a handling fee of R30.

There are three sections to the Gautrain Gold Card:

The License Section stores your once-off R10 card license fee. This is payable when you purchase your card and cannot be refunded or transferred or used to pay for Gautrain services.

The Purse Section is for pay-as-you-go travel on trains or buses or for parking at station car parks and is topped up (to a maximum of R2600) at any station ticket vending machine or ticket office. The Purse is debited when you use the card and discounts are automatically credited. You need at least R20 in the Purse section of your Gold Card in order to board any Gautrain bus and at least R16.50 to enter a station fare gate.

The Period Pass Section stores weekly and monthly travel passes.

To use the Trains

Touch your Gautrain Gold Card to the ticket reader at the fare-gate and wait for the green light and beeping sound to indicate validation. Pass through the glass barrier, board the train and sit back and relax! To tag off, when you leave the train, touch the card to the ticket reader at the exit fare-gate, wait for validation and then pass through.

To use the Buses

Touch your Gold Card to the ticket reader on the bus, wait for the green light and beeping sound to indicate validation. There is no tag-off required. The Gautrain bus system was designed with wheelchair users in mind. Please ask the driver for assistance.

To use the Car Parks

Touch the Gold Card to the ticket reader on the fare-gate or press the button to request a paper ticket. Wait for the boom to lift and drive in. (Paper ticket holders must take their tickets with them and pay at a Ticket Vending Machine after using car park). When tagging out, touch your Gold Card to the ticket reader on the exit gate. Wait for the boom to lift and drive out.

Fares

Gautrain fares are typically lower than the cost of using your private car for the same journey but more expensive than existing taxi, Metrobus and Metrorail fares.

Gautrain car parks have a drop–off zone with free access for the first 15 minutes. If you park and use the train to the airport the parking fee for the first 24 hours, or part thereof, is R29 for all stations; the second 24 hours, or part thereof, is R29.50; thereafter each 24 hour period costs R97.50 for Sandton and R58.50 for Marlboro and Rhodesfield.

 


A single train trip from Sandton, Marlboro or Rhodesfield to, or from, OR Tambo costs R100. A Gautrain bus ride only is R20. Discount Travel Passes are recommended if you do the same return trip up to 7 times per week or 35 times per month and requires that you register your card. Different or additional trips will automatically be deducted from your card’s Purse. A weekly pass (14 trips either way) from Sandton to Marloro will cost: Train only – R165.50; Train & Bus - R225.50 and Train, Bus & Parking - R273.00. The Monthly Pass rates (70 trips either way) from Sandton to Marlboro are: Train only - R727.50; Train & Bus – R991.50 and Train, Bus & Parking – R936.50.

Stations

Sandton Station

Located deep beneath Rivonia Road with a pedestrian entrance on the corner of Rivonia Road and West Street, and parking on West Street, this is the flagship station of the Gautrain system. There are several integration options: the Gautrain bus from the Public Transport Interchange (PTI) level (shared by municipal rapid transit buses), mini-bus taxis and rental cars. Drop-off and parking facilities are provided with 24-hour security in the Station’s underground parkade.

Marlboro Station

Next to the N3 Highway/Marlboro Drive Interchange providing access to the suburbs of Marlboro, Linbro Park, Alexandra and Rembrandt Park. Gautrain buses will only commence operations from Marlboro station during 2011. Drop-off and parking are provided in a double level parkade.

OR Tambo Station

Integrated into the new Central Terminal Building at the airport, this elevated station has platforms on a viaduct bridge overlooking the airport precinct. The station concourse is one level below, and directly linked to, the departures level of the new Central Terminal Building.

Gautrain buses do not operate from the airport. The airport information servies can provide other travel connection information.
There is no dedicated Gautrain parking at the airport. General Parking facilities provided at the airport offer a choice of either undercover or outside covered parking area. There are over 7,500 public parking bays available.

Rhodesfield Station

Located on the corner of Anson & Ventura Streets just across the R24 from OR Tambo Airport, the Gautrain’s Rhodesfield Station is directly adjacent to the new PRASA Rhodesfield Station providing easy pedestrian connectivity between the two. The PRASA Station can be used to access the Metrorail services.

A dedicated Gautrain bus service operates between the station and the Kempton Park CBD, including stops at the Kempton Park Civic Centre and the Festival Mall shopping precinct. Drop-off and parking facilities are provided with 24-hour security in the shaded parking area.

 

Timetables

During peak periods (05h30–08h30 and 16h00–19h00) trains and buses run every 12 minutes. During off-peak (08h30–16h00 and 19h00–20h30) trains and buses run every 20 minutes. On weekends and public holidays the trains run every 30 minutes but there are no buses. Car parks are open from 05h00 to 21h00, seven days a week

Rules and Regulations

Alcohol may not be consumed anywhere inside the Gautrain system including trains, buses and stations.

Eating and drinking is not permitted on the train.

The entire Gautrain system has been designated non-smoking.

The carrying of dangerous weapons, including firearms, is prohibited.

The carrying of any flammable, explosive and poisonous items is prohibited.

Passengers are responsible for their own luggage and should not leave it unattended.

You may use electronic items on the Gautrain including iPods, laptops and cellphones however the volume must be kept to a minimum so as not to disturb fellow passengers.

Columnist Photos