The Gautrain. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The Gautrain. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

THE bidding process for the provision of 48 new Gautrain coaches has begun in a lucrative R3.5bn deal.

The project is aimed at meeting demand as the number of passengers using the train continue to increase.

Gautrain passenger numbers have been increasing by 26% year on year‚ which has forced the Bombela Concession Company to invite suppliers for the new stock to submit a compliant request for qualification.

This bidding process is for the appointment of a company that will design‚ manufacture‚ supply and maintain 12 electrical trains. The deal also includes the design and construction of depot infrastructure for the Gautrain system.

Seven companies have been shortlisted‚ two of which are local.

As the deal takes place in tough economic conditions‚ the funding for the project will not come from the coffers of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, but has been secured "in principle" through a loan issued by the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

The loan will be channelled to the Gautrain Management Agency to pay for the rolling stock and is expected to be repaid through revenue generated from rides.

Gautrain transports 1.4-million passengers a month and is operating way beyond its capacity‚ just six years after beginning operations.

Gauteng MEC of transport Ismail Vadi said the new rolling stock and supporting infrastructure was expected to sustain 9‚000 jobs in the province and a R450m increase in government revenue was projected.

"The increase in the usage of the Gautrain shows that commuters are making a conscious shift from private car use to public transport‚ which is in line with the vision set out in our 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan‚" Mr Vadi said.

TMG Digital