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Remarks by Mr Lucky Montana, Group CEO Of Prasa On The Occasion Of The Refurbishment Of The Cape Town Central Station

8 June 2010

The long awaited upgrade and refurbishment of Cape Town’s Central Station, where approximately 135 000 passengers move through on a daily basis, has undergone extensive upgrade and re-modelling of the station precinct – at a cost of around R480 million. Initially, PRASA, formerly the SARCC, had set aside R110 million for the upgrade of the Station in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was later reviewed and increased resources were allocated to this Station. To date R356 million has been spent on the planning and refurbishment of the station.

The project upgrade and refurbishment of Cape Town Station has been undertaken by Intersite Property Management Services, a subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), with a view, immediately, to upgrade the station as part of our preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and also to inject new life into the CBD; improving operational efficiencies and provide the City with a world-class transport node in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and beyond.

The upgrade includes extensive renovations to the existing station building; relocation of the Long Distance Bus Terminal to Old Marine Drive and significant improvements to the informal and formal trading areas in the various precincts of the station. PRASA’s investment in this station stands at R480 million.

Our passengers can enjoy the following world-class facilities:

Some Key Features of the Cape Town Station:

  • Concourse to allow for greater passenger flows and movement
  • Natural light and ventilation
  • Easy access for Special Needs Passengers
  • CCTV cameras installed in concourse and on platform with video monitoring in security office
  • State-of- the-art public address system
  • Visible signage to ease passenger movement
  • Electronic message boards
  • New ticket offices
  • Food Court

The Long Distance Bus precinct has been upgraded to accommodate more buses and improved passenger facilities. The relocation of the bus terminal to Old Marine Drive will accommodate different long distance train operators (like The Blue Train), a metered taxi precinct and will also serve as a link to the city’s new Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT).

The permanent trading units on the station deck serving informal traders will be ready in January 2010 and are expected to set new standards for informal trading facilities. Over the next few months other formal retail outlets will be made available in various precincts such as the creative precinct, the Knuckle Building, forecourt and Main concourse.

The phased renovations and refurbishments to the original 1960’s buildings will transform the entire area and aesthetics of the station benefiting commuters and the broader business community putting Cape Town’s rail transport hub on par with other world-class facilities.

This is another important milestone for PRASA and a great moment for public transport in South Africa. Rail is the backbone of transport in the Cape Metropole. Over 3 years ago, over 120 000 passengers passed through and used this station. Today, over 135 000 passengers go through this station daily, increasing the number of people going through this station by 17% over this period. By 2020, the number is expected to be in excess of 155 000 people. It is therefore important that as PRASA we plan ahead and ensure that we have a station with the right facilities that could fully meet this demand.

But we all know that that this is the first phase in the further development of this historic station. PRASA has been working with the City and Private Sector about the planning and development of this station to meet long-term demands. We continue to work with the City of Cape Town and other stakeholders in the private sector on the 2030 Vision for the Station.

Cape Town 2030 encompasses two major reimagined interchanges namely Woodstock esplanage and Cape Town. Conceived as a key flagship in PRASA’s broader vision with rail as the backbone, the project will transform and lead transit orientated development within the country. The strategy is to radically improve operational efficiency without compromising the needs of urban growth and densification. A carbon friendly project with a range of modal choices in line with international practice. It will set the benchmark for sustainable development and urban innovation. The vision is that rail creates the basis for an equitable, safe and a future though a vibrant and accessible transport system.

The successful movement of soccer fans and passengers using public transport during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup is our first priority. Century City, which we will launch in the course of this morning, has been identified as a major park & ride linkage allowing Soccer enthusiasts to park at Century City and take the train into the City therefore limiting possible traffic congestion. It is therefore important that Cape Town Station has the appropriate capacity and facilities to handle the numbers of soccer fans who would naturally through the station but, most importantly, the demand for rail services in this City beyond 2010.

Governments have set the scene with the creation of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) which is a key lever in the efforts to transform public transport in our country. PRASA is 14 months old yet it is seriously beginning to tackle the fundamental issues that resulted in the rail operators failing to meet passenger expectations. There are still many challenges but PRASA must move decisively forward and ensure that it meet its public mandate for better and decent public transport.

Our programme is about making the transition from efforts aimed at “stabilising” commuter rail i.e. “fixing what is broken” to the delivery of high-quality, world-class services – or the delivery of reliable, decent passenger rail services, not only during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup but as a standard of service for the passenger rail sector in general.

For the next 3 years, PRASA will focus its energies further on improving commuter experience of rail transport through numerous interventions such as preventative maintenance and better facilities management, provide new capacity and drive the modernization of passenger rail through technology upgrades and ensures that we transform the profile and value of our property portfolio.

The R25bn capital investment by PRASA into infrastructure upgrade has laid the real foundation that will propel passenger rail into a new era of high-quality service delivery. We want to move away from train delays and breakdown to a transport entity whose values is customer-focused service and seeks at all times to ensure pleasant, dignified travel for all South Africans irrespective of race, colour, sex or class.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Upgraded Cape Town Station.

I thank you.


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