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Address by Mr Lucky Montana, Group CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on The Occasion of The Launch of the Moses Mabhida Station

8 June 2010

When we launched the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa in March 2009, we set ourselves three key strategic areas of delivery, the first was customer-focused improvements; the second was providing additional, modern capacity and technology (modernisation) to meet current and future passenger demands; and the third was unleashing the value of our property portfolio. All of this is vital to constructing a commercially-viable entity that is able to meet fully its public mandate.

We said, in order for South Africans to "BE MOVED", we had to focus on an approach that encompassed the need to answer our customer requests for convenience and dignity through rail travel, we needed to improve our capacity to deliver services and provide adequate facilities for our customers. Most of all, "BE MOVED" is far broader than the physical movement of passengers. It is mobilizing our employees, customers, stakeholders and the broader South African public to be emotionally involved and be behind a great South African dream, the vision of an integrated, decent public transport that belongs to all, young and old, black and white, rich and poor and rural and urban. The goal of public transport that delivers high-quality mobility and ensures access to opportunities. Public transport should be the mode of choice for all South Africans and not what the poor working poor use because of lack of choice. Through our Infrastructure Upgrade Programme and 2010 Preparations, we have begun to lay the foundations for a world-class public passenger transport.

The road to completing the Moses Mabhida Station has not been an easy one. There were many difficulties and challenges involving ourselves, the City and contractors. At some stage, our team was contemplating abandoning the project until all the necessary approvals were secured and proper access to the facility was secured. At the end, and following meetings between ourselves and the City Manager, Mr Mike Sutcliffe, we were able to reach agreement with the City and there was no turning back. Today, we are proud to have completed the construction of this new station and created a world-class facility. PRASA has invested just over R151 million in this precinct.

Our agreement with the City went beyond the construction of the new station. We took the completion of the station not as the end but the beginning of major developments. We recognized the opportunities for proper development and ensuring that Moses Mabhida becomes in the coming years an integrated development precinct with this beautiful stadium, train station, modern public transport facilities and commercial development. We agreed to work together with the City of Ethekwini in making this goal a reality.

So, ladies and gentlemen, what exactly is it that we have done at Moses Mabhida Station:

  • In our quest for customer focused improvement, PRASA had done the following:

Firstly, we have improved our infrastructure to ease congestion on the busiest corridor in KwaZulu Natal, specifically Umlazi (KwaMnyandu) and KwaMashu through station upgrades at a cost of R100m in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and beyond. We will also be investing significant resources over the next three (3) years through capacity enhancements on the North – South Corridor here in Ethekwini.

Secondly, the Moses Mabhida Station will allow for convenient and easy passage from Umlazi to KwaMashu, past the Moses Mabhida Stadium, an ideal set up for soccer match attendance by the people of Umlazi and KwaMashu.

  • In our quest for technological improvement:

We have linked to the control center via a highly efficient and reliable Optic Fiber cable. Train control and scheduling is controlled via the latest Integrated Communication System (ICS), Station access control is by way of a state- of- the-art speed gates linked to the CCTV, with remote and local control capacity.

  • In providing adequate facilities:

We have built 9m wide platforms in accordance with international trends and world standard. We have ensured accessibility for disabled passengers by providing 2 lifts (1 per platform). We have ensured that we use natural lighting and cross ventilation as well as adequate signage and other key facilities.

The Moses Mabhida Station does not only attest to PRASA’s focus and commitment to it vision, but gives practical on-the-ground delivery which can be measured against Government’s mandate of delivering quality transportation service.

In Servicing The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup:

As part of the official transport partners with FIFA, we have scheduled 140 dedicated trains during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in KwaZulu-Natal. There will be dedicated trains from Umlazi, KwaMashu, Stanger (North Coast), Kelso (South Coast) and Cato Ridge which will be transporting match ticket holders to the Moses Mabhida Stadium and back – free of charge as long as they produce a valid match ticket. This service will be supported by a train shuttle service between Durban Station and Moses Mabhida Station.

Beyond 2010: From Stabilisation to Quality Service:

PRASA R25 billion investment into passenger rail is only the beginning of the vision which moves beyond the stabilisation of services through the fixing and upgrading of existing rolling stock, to the need to deliver quality services through reliable train schedules which is at the heart of passenger rail. Stations such as Moses Mabhida will only be efficient in opening new corridors to ease congestion.

To meet the needs of a modern South Africa, PRASA has embarked on a programme which will see the procurement of new, modern train sets. This will be important if we are to ensure reliability in our services and ensure that we provide sustainable transport solutions.

We are also aware of the challenges facing the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and have been discussing with the Province the demand for rail services beyond the Metropolitan area of Ethekwini. We will work with the Province in revitalizing some of the branch lines to increase greater access. We will use existing lines to ensure that rail delivers people right in the heart of the City. We will later this year commence with the Business Express services in this City. We intend to be the number one public transport operator of choice for this and other cities around the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. We are delivering on our mandate of providing quality service to our passengers, but all this, will not adequately address some of our short-comings if we as an industry do not move from our current state and modernise our services, improve infrastructure and most importantly, add capacity to the already aging rolling stock currently running on our lines.

I therefore welcome you to the Moses Mabhida Station.

I thank you

 

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