Joburg-to-Soweto monorail will be built

A R12billion monorail will be built between Johannesburg and Soweto in the next two years, it was announced on Wednesday.

A R12billion monorail will be built between Johannesburg and Soweto in the next two years, it was announced on Wednesday.

The monorail would be a private sector initiative and would not be funded by the government. The project was expected to create more than 5000 jobs, said Gauteng Finance and Economic Affairs MEC Paul Mashatile and Public Transport Road and Works MEC Ignatius Jacobs.

The 44,7km monorail would have 39 stations, said Jeyakumar Varathan, chief executive of Newcycv, the Malaysian consortium behind the project.

Mashatile said that the monorail was intended to complement existing motor transport and not to compete with it.

"The problem in South Africa when it comes to public transport is not competition. The problem is people queue for three to four hours for transport.

"By 2009 no one from Soweto should have to wait more than 15 minutes for transport," said Mashatile.

Construction on the monorail is scheduled to start in September.

Monorails are light trains with rubber wheels that run on overhead concrete beams.

These trains rest on 6m high pillars built in the centre median of road carriageways.

Varathan said that tickets were expected to cost up to R10 a journey, which was likely to take 45 minutes at an average 40kmh, but with a peak speed of 80kmh.

But Jacobs emphasised that ticket prices would depend on the length of the journey. - Sapa

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