Joburg-Pretoria by high-speed rail

first_img5 August 2011 Within five hours of its launch, South Africa’s new high-speed rail service between Pretoria and Johannesburg had attracted more than 7 000 commuters. The figure was considered groundbreaking for a public train established to reduce traffic between the province’s two economic hubs. After a few delays, the important city-to-city route was finally opened on 2 August. The first train, which left Hatfield in Pretoria at 5.26am for the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank, ferried hundreds of commuters to work. According to Gautrain management, the train had accommodated 2 000 passengers by 7.00am, and just two hours later had added another 5 000 to that number. Gauteng Transport and Roads MEC Ismail Vadi was one of the first passengers. “Within 37 minutes from Hatfield we were in Rosebank,” he said, referring to a trip that could take up to two hours or more in peak traffic. Vadi added that he found the much-anticipated ride to be “smooth, fast, comfortable and safe”. At its maximum allowed speed of 160km per hour, it’s the fastest mode of transport in South Africa beside air travel. Commuter Mphengoa Phoko started using the train on its launch day. She used to drive daily from Pretoria to her workplace in Johannesburg, but said she will ride the Gautrain from now on. “It’s convenient and less stressful,” Phoko said, responding to a question from her seat. “After a long day at work I won’t have to concentrate on driving.” The Gautrain route between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, which was launched just before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has already ferried approximately three-million commuters in little more than a year. The Pretoria-Johannesburg route is expected to surpass that figure before the end of 2011, as it attracts thousands of people who commute to work daily. “Gautrain is the future for public transport in South Africa,” said transport minister S’bu Ndebele, hinting that in future the government may look at introducing such high-speed trains elsewhere. The much shorter route between Rosebank and the Johannesburg CBD is expected to go live later in 2011 after completion of outstanding work, bringing on board thousands of new passengers. Gautrain offers a reliable alternative for motorists who were previously not comfortable with the country’s public transport. “Leave your car at home; you can use it over weekend,” Ndebele said.Years of hard work The Gauteng provincial government, then led by former premier Mbhazima Shilowa, launched plans for a rapid rail system in 2004. “We travelled the length and breadth of the world, looking for technology,” recalled MEC Qedani Mahlangu. She said they inspected train stations in densely populated areas like London and Paris, and also visited countries like Spain and Switzerland to gain insight into rapid rail systems. The Bombela Consortium, which comprises international groups Bombardier and Bouygues Travaux Publics, as well as South African civil contractor Murray & Roberts and the Strategic Partners Group, became a private sector partner to Gauteng’s provincial government in 2005. Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe told journalists the government’s resolution to complete the project was commendable. “You can’t tackle a project like this without political support, you’ve got to have it,” he said. Up to 8 000 people worked on Gautrain during its construction phase. Mahlangu said the consortium also recruited South Africans who had left the country.Focus on infrastructure Now that Gautrain construction is almost complete, the government can focus on other public rail projects. It is to spend R30.2-billion (US$4.5-billion) over the next three years to improve services of the Metrorail trains, which transport millions of South Africans staying in townships around Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces daily. Ndebele said the government’s plan to upgrade metro trains too is so that “you don’t have a Gautrain that’s comfortable and fast, but have a Metrorail that’s pedestrian”. Another critical project is the Moloto Rail Corridor in Mpumalanga province, which would see Metrorail trains transporting thousands of Mpumalanga residents who work in Pretoria. Ndebele’s department is still conducting feasibility studies on the much-needed project, which was first mooted by former president Thabo Mbeki some years ago. The government spends millions of rands each year on subsidies for private company buses for Moloto commuters. “Already we’re paying. We have to ask if that is the most effective way of using taxpayers’ money,” Ndebele said. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer: The Nature Conservancy

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  Leave a CommentOhio Farm Bureau’s Director of Water Quality and Research Jordan Hoewischer talked with Dr. Jessica D’Ambrosio of The Nature Conservancy earlier this summer. On this edition of Field Day, Hoewischer and D’Ambrosio discussed the role of The Nature Conservancy and how the organization works with farmers to help make positive impacts on water quality.Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer is an ongoing series of conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.Following are some highlights from Episode 8.  Complete transcript  Q: Give us an overview of The Nature Conservancy and how farmers and environmentalists can work together.A: The Nature Conservancy is the largest conservation organization in the world. We’ve got offices in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 60 countries across the world. It’s our mission to preserve the land and water upon which all life depends. We probably got our start and are probably most famously known for purchasing and protecting rare and unique places all over the world. In this area of the world the, the Western Lake Erie Basin, we learned early on we are trying to protect a endangered mussel species in the St. Joseph River and we realized really early on that we weren’t able to do the work we needed to do to protect that species without involving the landowners, and the landowners in that watershed were predominantly farmers. Once we started talking to them instead of ignoring them or not incorporating them in the solutions, we found that they were many times more interested and more excited about what we were doing, sometimes more than we were.Q: We’ve talked about a combination of voluntary and regulatory nutrient management practices. What’s your opinion on proposed or rumored future legislation on water quality or farming as a whole?A: If you read the mass balance study that was recently done by Ohio EPA, you’ll see that it does state that the voluntary measures that are in place now, and continue to be in place, have done a really good job of – I am going to use an analogy here – stabilizing the patient. So we have a patient, Lake Erie and Lake Erie watershed, who’s sick and those voluntary practices, without those in play, we wouldn’t be able to debate these ideas and these decisions about what we should do next and who we should involve. I think regulatory measures and policies need to be on the table as part of the solutions. Continued voluntary action does too. So, can we take next steps, voluntary or regulatory, that help treat the root causes and then can that lead us towards really getting rid of the disease that Lake Erie has which is these chronic algal blooms.Q: It’s easy to generalize a whole segment of people (farmers) as the main culprit in the water quality issue, but I wish we could focus on solutions and not so much who’s at fault or who’s to blame because the issue is the issue.A: I think that’s where The Nature Conservancy has had a lot of success in working with the ag community as we’ve sat down and we’ve said, ‘Hey let’s talk about how we can work on this together and what are real solutions you can implement as an industry’ rather than saying it your ‘It’s your fault; you better fix it or else.’ So, again catching more flies with honey than with vinegar and real solutions that are practicable and that are cost effective that makes sense.  Leave a Commentlast_img read more

How To Enable 2-Factor Verification On Gmail (And Avoid Getting Hacked)

first_imgYou want to click on Account, which will open up a new tab on your browser, your Google Account page. From here, you want to navigate to Security located on the far left side.  Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Clicking the Security tab will reveal a few options, the most important being “2-step verification.” You want to click the “Edit” button and once you do, Google will ask you to sign in again before allowing you to make the security change. Once you have signed in a second time, Google will ask you for your phone number. You can choose to add additional devices and phone numbers as you see fit. fruzsina eordogh Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting While many folks might hesitate giving their phone number to Google, the other possible option, having your “entire digital life …destroyed” (as Honan so succinctly put it), isn’t too appealing.  center_img Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market An easy tip for Gmail users on how to avoiding getting hacked: two-factor verification.  If there is one lesson to be learned from Wired writer Mat Honan’s “epic” hacking last week – a hack that wiped years of digital memories including emails and photos of his daughter – it’s the importance of Gmail’s two-factor verification security feature.“Had I used two-factor authentication for my Google account, it’s possible that none of this would have happened,” wrote Honan, who went on to say if he had used the security feature the hack would have stopped during the hacker’s “recon mission” leading up to the multi-device attack.Google’s two-factor verification, which the company began offering last February,  is easy to set up and just requires a phone capable of receiving text messages. When you try to log into your computer from a different location than the one you set up, like a coffeeshop or airport, Google ask you for a verification code before it lets you proceeds to your inbox. It will text you a code to enter, alongside your password, to make sure it is really you.   Setting up the security feature can be done through a variety of options (like this one, or this one), but an easy way is to go to the menu options on the top right of your Google Account page screen when signed into Gmail. Click the downward facing arrow on the far right of your Google+ picture, and a small menu will pop out like so: Tags:#tips#web last_img read more

NGO Calls On Maersk to Become True Leader for Safe Recycling

first_imgImage Courtesy: MaerskAfter the Danish shipping company Maersk admitted to duplicity in vessel recycling, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s Executive Director Patrizia Heidegger has called on “the world’s leading ship owner to become a true leader for clean and safe ship recycling.”In order to do so, Heidegger said that the company should opt for “investing in and working with modern ship recycling yards off the beach that can guarantee the highest standard of environmental protection, hazardous waste treatment and occupational health and safety for workers.”She explained that, by practicing duplicity in vessel recycling, Maersk “created strong financial incentives for their business partners to scrap old ships in the beaching yards of Bangladesh and India.”“Maersk sorted out its fleet by selling older vessels to other ship owners, chartered the ships back immediately to keep them in their fleet as long as convenient – and then motivated the other owners do the dirty job,” according to Heidegger.Maersk earlier admitted that its own contracts from divestments “have not always guaranteed the intention” of the company’s recycling policy.The ship owner has thus tightened its procedures and contract requirements while also realizing that the solution “does not lie with clever contracts and that it may take a long time for a global agreement to become effective,” according to Annette Stube, Head of Maersk Group Sustainability.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more