Full steam ahead for rail plan

Gershwin Chuenyane

Gershwin Chuenyane

A plan for rail to be the backbone of the country's public transport will be unveiled early next year.

This new transport system will overhaul inefficient public transport, said Transport Minister Jeff Radebe.

"We are preparing for a major transport overhaul with the announcement of the Transport System Plan in January.

"The most significant would be the bringing in of ever more black entrepreneurs to participate," Radebe said.

Referring to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Radebe said: "In future we must consider operating our coaches for 18 hours instead of 10. Over the next three years, as part of meeting the 2010 passenger needs, we will refurbish 1600 coaches.

He delivered a keynote speech and cut the ribbon to send the refurbished 10M5 train on its first journey from Pretoria Station to the Rissik Station in Sunnyside. Radebe also boarded the train for the journey.

Radebe said resources would be used to get more people opting for rail, in addition to the millions who use it every day.

"It is not a pipe dream, it is achievable," Radebe said.

He warned train commuters to stop venting their frustrations through violence and arson.

"It is totally wrong to resort to violence and arson when there are problems with Metrorail."