New rail corridors priority for Cape Town

Public transport upgrade

City prioritises new rail corridors for Cape Town
New rail corridors

The Cape Town City Council, which recently launched a new intermodal transport authority, has adopted a recommendation to prioritise the development of a new Blue Downs rail corridor in an effort to make it easier for Capetonians to move in and around the city.

The decision follows an urgent request to the transport authority – made by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) – to prioritise the next major rail intervention in the metropolitan area.

It coincides with the National Treasury’s allocation of more than R120 billion to invest in commuter rail networks operated by Metrorail.

The council’s broader strategy is to create more opportunities and break down old spatial planning barriers through an efficient and well-run public transport network.

“A number of new rail line extensions and improvements have been identified for Cape Town under the city’s Integrated Transport Plan (ITP) as well as in Prasa’s strategic rail framework for the Western Cape. Both these processes have consistently identified the three priority corridors as the Blue Downs, the Atlantis, and the Fisantekraal lines,” said Councillor Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater.

The City’s website reports that the transport department’s assessment and studies of the situation conclude and recommend that the Blue Downs rail link is the most in demand, and will therefore benefit the highest number of people.

It will also provide travelling opportunities for latent demand, which will unlock many more opportunities to a substantial proportion of Cape Town’s population.

“The department has recommended that smaller scale interventions be implemented along the Atlantis and Fisantekraal lines, firstly up to Parklands and secondly up to Fisantekraal. This will meet growing demand for existing development rights along the corridors served by these lines,” Cllr Herron said.

In terms of the National Land Transport Act (Act 5 of 2009), or the NLTA, the City launched its transport authority under the banner of “Transport for Cape Town” (TCT) in October.

The intention of TCT is to centralise and co-ordinate decision making on the implementation of all transport infrastructure and operations in Cape Town, regardless of the agency involved.

In this regard, Transport for Cape Town will exercise that authority to make a formal request to Prasa to implement infrastructure under its control in line with the City’s priorities. In the past, the authority rested with Prasa to decide what it deemed a priority for Cape Town.

The City will now request Prasa to:

  • prioritise the process necessary to design and construct the Blue Downs rail link between Nolungile and Kuilsriver Stations
  • improve and provide additional station facilities on the existing Fisantekraal line and increase the service on this line
  • initiate the provision of station facilities along the existing Atlantis line and introduce an appropriate rail operation to service passengers along the line.


“The City’s investigations concluded that a Blue Down’s rail line would have a direct and substantial impact on the quality of public transport service to more than 50 000 daily commuters," said Cllr Herron.

"Commuters will have a more dignified travel experience as a result of additional capacity as well as significantly reduced travel time. This new line would improve access to employment and economic opportunities and will provide more convenient access to education and health services.”

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