The Honourable Minister of Transport, Dr Sibusiso Ndebele officially launched the Request for Proposal for the Manufacturing of New Rolling Stock at the Metrorail depot in Braamfontein.
This is part of PRASA’s much anticipated Request for Proposal (RFP) which signifies the start of the procurement process and in communicating with potential RSMs for the start of the procurement or bidding processes.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Ndebele invited manufactures of rolling stock to submit their bids for the new rolling stock “Today we formally invite manufactures of rolling stock in South Africa and all over the world to submit their bids to build metro coaches estimated at R123 billion. Government has opened the bid to private sector companies to encourage growth and job creation in our country, this is a milestone in passenger rail investment which will see a significant change in the quality of public transport as a whole”.
Earlier this year, Government announced the first R5 billion allocation to PRASA out of a budgeted R137 billion. Out of the R 5 billion allocation, R 4 billion has been reserved for the procurement of the first new rolling stock while the R 1 billion will be used for the upgrading of rail infrastructure such as signaling, the upgrading and building of new depots to name a few – the first over a period of 20 years.
During the launch, the PRASA Group CEO Lucky Montana emphasised Government’s targeted 65% localisation target as part of the bid conditions for the new rolling stock “As PRASA, we would like to support equitable BEE partnerships that are both legitimate and sustainable hence our approach to the BEE aspect of the bids for the new rolling stock manufacturing will be very strict in both compliance and legitimacy”.
In real terms, PRASA must ensure the manufacture of an estimated 7 224 Metrorail coaches nationally to meet the passenger demand over the next 20 years as well as the upgrading and the construction of new rail infrastructure such as depots facilities and signaling.
PRASA has also begun a parallel investment process within its services by setting aside R 25.9 billion over the next three years to finance a host of national Capital Investment projects both at station level and at key national high-passenger demand corridors in KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng:
In 2011, PRASA approved the first phase of the new rail signaling project in Gauteng for R 1 billion in the Lenz-Midway Corridor as well as the construction of a Central Train Control Centre (CTC). This was followed by the awarding of two additional tenders for the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal rail signaling tenders by the end of 2011.
In addition, PRASA is currently implementing a series of Capacity Enhancement Projects such as the construction of a rail link for the Bridge City development north of Durban as well as the Greenview doubling project east of Tshwane which would address the archaic single rail design and cater for the increased demands for a more efficient service to name a few.
PRASA has also introduced the National Station Improvement and Upgrade programme which includes station improvements, major station upgrades, the building of new stations and developing intermodal hubs in conjunction with local and Provincial Governments. Over 50 stations are part of the program with a total investment commitment of over R1bn which includes the provision for universal/disability access, commercial facilities, intermodal connectivity to name a few.
“As PRASA we have already started preparing for the new trains not only to complement Government’s contribution, but to also improve our stations and customer experience as a whole. We have set aside R 25.9 billion of our own money over the next three years to invest in infrastructure development at station level. We have chosen strategic high-passenger corridors as our key upgrade corridors where the demand for our service is quite high with an average 30 to 60 000 passengers at peak hours” said Montana commenting on PRASA’s own capital investment projects in line with servicing customer demands for a modern passenger rail service.