Express train for Tshwane, Joburg
Rail commuters travelling between Pretoria and Johannesburg now have a choice of getting to their destinations in luxury and quicker.
This follows the long-awaited launch of Metrorail's Tshwane Business Express by Transport Minister Jeff Radebe at Pretoria station yesterday.
The stylish Business Express will cut travelling time between the two cities to just under an hour.
Complete with on-board services and facilities, the state-of-the-art trains have proved successful and popular following their introduction in Soweto and Khayelitsha a year ago.
Commuters will get free refreshments on-board, free newspapers, laptop work-stations with power points and exclusive, dedicated waiting and ticketing areas.
Every coach will have two security officers.
Commuters who are often disadvantaged by delayed trains will have a standby diesel locomotive to haul the train in the event of electrical or infrastructural failure.
Metrorail chief Lucky Montana said the Business Express was necessitated by a growing demand for a fast and dignified commuter rail transport service.
"Our commuter rail system was not designed to ferry commuters in style, but modelled to transport people in large numbers regardless of how they travel.
"Today we are giving our commuters a choice of travelling in complete luxury," said Montana.
Radebe said rail transport was important in social and economic development worldwide.
" The launch of the Business Express project showcases tangible progress and the inroads we are making in transforming our rail transport system."
Also present at the launch was 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza, who said he would use the train.
Khoza said the launch of the service was a key facet of South Africa's readiness to host a successful World Cup tournament.
"We cannot afford to fail on our commitments. I am happy that the transport ministry is delivering on its commitments," Khoza said.
The express will depart from Pretoria at 6.15am, stop at Centurion, Kempton Park and proceed to Johannesburg station. It returns to Pretoria at 5.30pm.
Tickets cost between R20 and R30 for a single trip. A return ticket costs R40 and R60. Weekly tickets are between R200 and R300 and a monthly ticket is R550 and R750.