Delivering public value

As a wholly-owned government public entity reporting to the minister of transport, the main responsibility of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is to deliver commuter rail services in the metropolitan areas, long-distance (inter-city) rail and bus services within, to and from the borders of the Republic of South Africa. This mandate is implemented in consultation with and under the guidance of the minister of transport.

Core to its strategic deliverables is a commitment to the government’s national development agenda and objectives, which among others are: ensuring that Prasa continues to be a leader in passenger transport solutions capable of delivering high quality passenger services in a safe and secure environment, and ensuring that rail commuter services are provided within, to and from South Africa in the public interest. Prasa also provides long-haul passenger rail and bus services, contributes to the goal of integrated public transport, and champions the transformation of public transport.

Prasa has as its focus mobility and accessibility for the multitudes of South Africans who rely on rail and affordable bus services to access socioeconomic opportunities, thus contributing to a better quality of life for the people as a whole.

At the core of delivering public value, Prasa is committed to:

•          Improving accessibility and connectivity to marginalised communities;

•          Providing affordable and subsidised transport solutions to passengers;

•          Providing demand-responsive services in rural areas, where rail is the most appropriate mode of transport;

•          Supporting economic growth and development through the provision of access to major employment areas;

•          Supporting the main economic development nodes;

•          Contributing to emissions reduction and cleaner cities; and

•          Supporting social activities to improve the quality of life for South African citizens.

Reversing underinvestment

In addressing decades of underinvestment in public transport infrastructure, Prasa has embarked on a significant capital investment programme, focused on the modernisation of infrastructure and rolling stock. The key programmes include the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme, signalling, new locomotives, the 120km/h Perway Programme, and station and depots modernisation.

These investments support Prasa’s effort to position passenger rail as the backbone of South Africa’s transport system. Spending will continue to be prioritised in these areas, mainly to support the Metrorail service. Growth in passenger rail spending has, until recently, been constrained due to other, competing public demands, but capital investment is now on the increase. The group’s capital spending will reach R45-billion over the next three years, driven largely by the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal and Signalling programmes.  A total of R14.5-billion has been allocated by the government to fast-track the capital infrastructure investment program.

The government has invested R3.5-billion in acquiring 20 new long-distance and 50 metro service locomotives. Fourteen of the long-distance trains have already been delivered, with a further six to be received during 2016.

A total of R51-billion has been contributed by government to the manufacture of 600 metro services trains, of which 580 will be manufactured in South Africa on the East Rand in Gauteng, creating more than 33?000 jobs over the next 10 years and 66?000 over the next 30 years. The plant in Nigel will be a catalyst for rail engineering skills and capacity building, and will see the country producing expert electrical and mechanical engineers as well as technicians and artisans, who are much-needed if this country is to remain competitive in human capital development.

As the backbone of public transport and with a fleet of 4 554 trains coaches and 553 buses, Prasa transports millions of passengers each year on Metrorail, Shosholoza Meyl and on its buses.

Notable successes have been recorded since Prasa embarked on a transformation journey, which included a financial turnaround and the modernisation of a dilapidated railway infrastructure and system.

The following successes came about as a result of commitment and dedication by thousands of Prasa employees, who put in a lot of effort to ensure a legacy of  constructing a modern train system; building a business of the future; unlocking the value of assets; reversing decades of underinvestment; increasing asset value; and introducing new technologies.

Prasa is committed to ensuring that it is a leader in passenger transport solutions and, as a modern public entity, continues to deliver high quality passenger services in a safe and secure environment.

Prasa is rolling out the train system of the future.

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