Gautrain: Transforming Spaces, People and the Economy
A Partnership for Sustainable Public Transport and Economic Growth
The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) introduced the Midibus Feeder and Distribution Service (MFDS) in partnership with the minibus taxi industry to enhance public transport integration. This initiative has positively impacted the economy, communities, and the Gautrain brand, while revolutionizing feeder and distribution services in the region.
The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) is responsible for overseeing the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Project. The Gautrain system connects three metropolitan areas and the economic nodes of the Gauteng Province. In addition, the GMA’s powers and functions have been expanded to encompass other related projects and assist other organs of state to realise the integration and coordination of public transport within the province.
The Agency’s purpose is to transform spaces, people and the economy through mobility. Part of the transformation is about enhancing the integration of the Gautrain System with other public transport services within the Gauteng province. An integrated public transport network promotes the use of public transport and supports the economic activities of commuters and the community at large.
In pursuit of this vision, the GMA embarked on an initiative in 2011 to provide a safe, reliable, and scheduled Midibus Feeder and Distribution Service (MFDS) from Marlboro Station to Linbro Business Park in partnership with the minibus taxi industry, specifically Alexandra Transport Solutions (Pty) Ltd. An innovative contracting model was formed with the taxi associations operating in the Linbro Park area. Since 2011, more midibus routes have been introduced and are operating at Gautrain Sandton, Marlboro, Centurion and Hatfield stations.
The MFDS initiative aims to provide a scheduled, safe, and reliable public transport service that promotes confidence in public transport and encourages commuters to switch from private vehicles to public transport. The programme also provides access to public transport
in communities where bus operations are not suitable. As a direct result, the communities where Gautrain midibuses also operate benefit in the following ways:
- Economic empowerment of the taxi industry
- Sustainable employment opportunities. A total of 62 jobs have been created to date.
- An integrated transport network
- A safe public transport system
- Less congestion on the roads. In 2022, close to 600 000 commuters used the midibus service.
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved health
The midibus service has also had a positive impact on the Gautrain brand and GMA business in the following ways:
- It allowed for expansion of service to serve areas that could not be operated by large vehicles, and so expanded coverage of the primary system.
- It operates in parallel to other services, each providing a defined market segment’s needs.
- It has increased the GMA brand awareness and value.
- It contributes to the sustainability of the GMA as a company.
This partnership between the GMA and the taxi associations has revolutionised how Gautrain Feeder and Distribution Services will be rolled out in the future. The model has become popular, with metropolitan authorities exploring how they can replicate it. The partnership has also unlocked the potential of the minibus taxi industry to operate scheduled, safe, and reliable public transport services, as the sector is regarded as an informal, unsafe, and unregulated, public transport system.