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Fast train to a better life

Written by Edwin Thsividzho
The multi-billion rand Gautrain is not only a better and faster way to travel in Gauteng, it has also brought a better life to many unemployed people in the province.

This means it is an active participant in the country's economy. It is estimated that the Gautrain has created more than 90 000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Security official

Sfiso Msengwe from Soweto is a 36-year old father of two who works as a security official at the Centurion Gautrain station. He was unemployed despite being a trained security officer with qualifications.

“I have always wanted to work for or be part of Gautrain,” he said. When he heard that the Gautrain needed security officials, he immediately applied and got the job. “Now I’m able to provide for my family and we no longer live on hand-outs,” he said with a smile.

Msengwe enjoys his new job saying it’s exciting to work with different people every day, even if it means getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning to be at work by six. “My job is mostly ensuring that people are safe and helping those who need assistance,” he said.

Many people like Msengwe have been employed in other positions such as at the client services section or as bus drivers.

Making life easier

The Gautrain, which connects Pretoria, Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport started operating just before the 2010 Soccer World Cup kicked off.

This alternative mode of public transport is making life much easier for motorists who had to spend hours in heavy traffic.

Gautrain services are expected to ease traffic jams on the roads between Johannesburg and Pretoria especially the N1.

It is estimated that approximately one-fifth of Pretoria-Johannesburg commuters will make the switch from travelling by road to travelling by train.

Beyond expectations

The number of passengers using the Gautrain since it started operating between Johannesburg and Tshwane has been beyond expectations.

During the first week the number steadily increased from 19 248 on the first day of operations to almost 42 000 and it continues to attract more and more people.