Gautrain main contractor, Bombela Electrical and Mechanical Works, has awarded the Thales Group and local partner Stimela Infrastructure Management Services (SIMS) a R100 million contract to provide a “contactless e-ticketing solution” for the new rapid rail system throughout South Africa. The contract, now operative, requires Thales to design and deploy a contactless e-ticketing system at all 10 Gautrain stations. “The Gautrain is a project of huge proportions – the biggest for Thales on the African continent to date and the most extensive ever in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Thales Transportation Systems MD Jean-Louis Olié.
Thales tickets Gautrain
Gautrain main contractor Bombela Electrical and Mechanical Works has awarded the Thales Group and local partner Stimela Infrastructure Management Services (SIMS) a R100 million contract to provide a “contactless e-ticketing solution” for the rapid rail system.
The contract, now operative, requires Thales to design and deploy a contactless e-ticketing system at all 10 Gautrain stations, including OR Tambo International Airport.
“The Gautrain is a project of huge proportions – the biggest for Thales on the African continent to date and the most extensive ever in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Thales Transportation Systems MD Jean-Louis Olié.
“It is also a major step forward in the development of an interoperable e-ticketing system in SA, where our technologies could also be proposed in Durban and Cape Town to allow seamless connections between public transport networks at national level in the future.”
Olié says the Thales-designed system will be innovative and will exclusively use disposable and reusable contactless smart cards with embedded chips. “The proposed solution will also be interoperable so that commuters can use the same contactless smart card for different services: the Gautrain, Gautrain station car parks and the Gautrain bus feeder and distributor system,” known as Rea Vaya, in Johannesburg.
He adds the company will also bring state-of-the-art technologies and the latest available hardware and software innovations to the Gautrain. “For example, each station will have access gates in a three entry/three exit configuration, allowing flows of 60 passengers per minute at peak times,” he says.
Thales SA spokesman Danie van der Walt says the company will start installing the equipment and technology purchased in terms of this contract from 2009. It will begin with the OR Tambo-Johannesburg line that will be used for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
“We are now busy with the detailed planning. There is a lot to be done,” he says. Van der Walt adds that the company’s part in the project will wind up in 2012.
Thales Transportation Systems is part of the global Thales Group, previously Thomson-CSF, which also operates in the defence, aerospace and security market.
In SA, the company became caught up in the fraud and corruption trial of Schabir Shaik, the self-styled financial advisor of African National Congress deputy president Jacob Zuma. Both Thales and Zuma may still stand trial on related charges.
Thales and Bombela previously insisted Thales Transportation Systems is separate and distinct from the Thales Group’s other local operation, Thales International, which has attracted adverse publicity.
Thales and SIMS beat Titima, an SA-Singapore consortium, and ERG, a US developer and supplier of similar equipment, to the deal.
Business Report newspaper earlier this year said SIMS’ directors were Fezile Dantile, George van Rooyen and Hendrik van Stryt. Dantile is an immediate past president of the Railway Association of SA.