Africa's first underground rapid rail link, Gautrain, will be up and running in May 2010, just before the start of the soccer World Cup, which takes place in South Africa between June and July.
Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said this yesterday at a press briefing in Johannesburg after visiting two construction sites of Gautrain's stations.
Accompanied by Gauteng MEC for transport, Ignatius Jacobs, and officials from Mbombela Consortium, who are in charge of the project, Radebe went to Park Station and Rosebank.
He said the project, valued at R8,8billion, was well on track.
"The line between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport will be ready by May 2010. That will be just before the soccer World Cup. The Gautrain will be fully operational by March 2011."
The Gautrain will have stations at Park Station, Sandton, Rosebank, OR Tambo International Airport, Mushroom Farm Park, Marlboro Portal, and Hatfield in Pretoria.
Radebe said the Gautrain would integrate the transport system in Gauteng.
"Our approach for the Gautrain has been very holistic so that we could maximise its benefits through the promotion of inter-modal integration and priority corridors, in accordance with the rail plan," he said.
Radebe also announced a single ticketing system in which a single ticket will be used on the Gautrain, Metrorail, buses and taxis. Mbombela's project leader, Jack van der Merwe, said the Gautrain would ferry 135000 passengers in the 14-to-16-hour daily operations.
"The role of the Gautrain must be seen within the context of interlinking the various modes and nodes within Gauteng."