Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has given the Gautrain the thumbs-up as it resumed services on Monday under the level 4 lockdown.
“From what we experienced today, the Gautrain is ready to provide services under level 4,” he said at a media briefing at the Gautrain in Sandton on Monday.
“Overall, I am quite impressed, it is all systems go. It is quite impressive work that we have seen through social distancing and screening booths,” he added.
Mbalula had just travelled on a train from Hatfield, Pretoria, to Sandton, Johannesburg, to inspect the Gautrain’s adherence to safety measures for commuters amid the global Covid-19 outbreak.
This came after the transport minister announced plans to gradually allow the Gautrain to operate again.
This followed President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a risk-adjusted strategy which comprises 5 levels of lockdown – 1 being low risk and 5 being high risk.
The country has been under level 4 of the Covid-19 lockdown since Friday, 1 May. It seeks to allow more economic activity while managing the virus.
Mbalula praised the screening booth he experienced while in Hatfield. It will disinfect passengers before they board the train.
According to the Gautrain CEO William Dachs, it is being piloted for two weeks to measure its effectiveness in minimising the spread of the virus.
“The scanners are being piloted right now, we have to show first that it is effective as it can be before it is rolled out,” Dachs said.
It was earlier reported that commuter rail will resume operations gradually on an incremental basis, based on plans submitted by passenger rail operators.
Mbalula said Gautrain operations would be gradually reintroduced covering eight of the nine stations, adding there would be no airport service as domestic and international flights remain banned under level 4.
Here is what you need to know:
- Trains will run between 05.30am and 09.30am and between 15.00pm and 19.00pm.
- All passengers and staff must wear a mask. It is mandatory.
- Passengers will have to pass through a disinfecting and scanning booth prior to entering the train.
- Social distancing must be maintained, with passengers keeping a safe distance from one another.
- Trains, buses and mid-buses will be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals.