Paper presented at the 31st Annual Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2012 "Getting Southern Africa to Work", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
MetroRail’s quality is not to world standards, but still serves an important passengers
market in metropolitan areas. Until recently it receives little priority. But there is a
worldwide revival of passenger rail transport, also in South Africa with introduction of the
Compared to some of the World’s best rail countries (like the Netherlands), a lot can be
done to improve the quality of rail service. Not only by providing extra infrastructure but
also on better service quality and planning on existing infrastructure. In this paper some
examples are given, related to improving travel time and convenience; based upon best
practises from the Netherlands.
A different design of timetable, with a frequent and clockwise train service, results in
shorter waiting times. This reduction of travel time and convenience can lead to additional passengers. It also enables more efficient use of the existing infrastructure and thus provides a higher capacity. Analyses done for two of Durban’s MetroRail corridors show that 2 (of present 11) train sets can be saved without reduction of levels of service. These assets can be used to expand the service.
A higher quality of service increases travel experience of existing train passengers and
could also attract new passengers. An improved passenger rail system may help to
develop the South African economy and could support the restructuring of existing low
density cities through Transit Oriented (corridor) Development. Improved passenger rail
quality indirectly helps to concentrate job opportunities near public transport nodes,
supporting social objectives.
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