Happy new week, GoMetropolitans!
Cape Town is fairly unique in South Africa for its wide-spread, functional railway service that stretches throughout the city and all the way out to Sea Point. Up in Johannesburg, the Gautrain is unique too in its upmarket, first-class rail experience.
But what if these could be better? We’ve been thinking about all things railway this week and have been looking at how some other countries in the world do it – plus what no one seems to have offered yet. So, here are three things that we hope to see on SA’s trains soon:
- Renewable energy for trains
In Melbourne, Australia, it was announced in 2017 that the city’s trams will soon be solar-powered – and there are rumours that their trains will be too. In Istanbul, Turkey, there are miniature turbines at certain stations between train tracks, which are powered by the windspeed created as the trains pass each other and that generates power that goes towards running that train station. This kind of green gas-fighting technology is perfect for a city like Cape Town, with plenty of residents who care deeply for the environment, and ensures a sustainable rail system for years to come.
- Electric busses and a ‘cross sell’
Vienna has had them since 2015, in May this year they were even launched in Kolkata, India… electric buses are a practical way to preserve the environment and a great, socially responsible way to get commuters to places where trains can’t. Wouldn’t it be awesome to get off your train at Rondebosch, for example, only to have an electric train waiting to take you to the stadium so you can watch the game? With free WiFi (another thing that could be really great on trains, we think), the system could become so sophisticated in time that it could, hypothetically, be integrated with Google Maps or whatever so that someone can plan a journey through various forms of transportation online and order them while they go. Now that’s multimodal, smart mobility.
- A ‘buddy’ system
Okay, this is one we haven’t seen anywhere in the world, but we think it’s an amazingly good idea. For any tourist or newcomer, the public transport systems of anywhere are a lot to take in and can seem overwhelmingly complex. We think it would be amazing for the government or train services or someone to come up with a rating-based system (kind of like Uber) where someone can offer friendly help and assistance to someone who looks lost in exchange for points that lead to rewards, such as discounts on their next train ticket. Because the system works both ways on ratings, it prevents someone abusing the system and other people. From here, it’s pretty easy to turn people into brand ambassadors for our train systems – they could send snapshots showing how they picked up litter, for example, or reported a crime, for more rewards.
Well, we’re hyped… What do you think, GoMetropolitans? What would you like to see on our trains? Let us know and have upwardly mobile weeks!