- Are the Gautrain and the Airports Company of SA (Acsa) colluding to
divide up the market in respect of parking services?
This is the question West Rand businessman Alfonso Niemand has asked the Competition Commission to investigate.
Weeks, head of enforcement and exemptions at the Competition
Commission, confirmed that the issue had been referred to a colleague
for a provisional investigation, on the basis of which a decision may
be taken about a formal investigation.
a letter to the commission, Niemand said he travels regularly to OR Tambo airport, opting to take the Gautrain from Marlboro
station to the airport.
frustration is that when he climbs aboard at Marlboro, he has to go via
Sandton to the airport. The same applies if he takes the Gautrain
at Rhodesfield station, which is only 800m from the airport. Each time
passengers have to travel to Sandton - away from the airport - before
they can continue to OR Tambo.
passengers occupy different coaches from the commuters and those doors
do not open on the route from Sandton to allow passengers
to board at Marlboro and Rhodesfield on the way to the airport.
says that several enquiries to the Gauteng authorities and Bombela,
which operates the system, have failed to discover the
reason for these arrangements.
On one occasion he asked a Gauteng government official on Marlboro station the same question.
is an agreement between Acsa and Bombela, in terms of which passengers
are discouraged from travelling from Rhodesfield and Marlboro
(to the airport) because this will deprive Acsa of parking revenue.”
A couple of years ago Acsa built a brand new parking garage at OR Tambo.
said that as a consequence of the alleged collusion parking areas at
Rhodesfield and Marlboro, which were built using taxpayers'
money, are underutilised. Airport passengers prefer to park at Sandton
station or drive directly to the airport.
asked whether it is coincidental that Acsa's parking fees are virtually
the same as those for a trip from Marlboro, via Sandton, to
the airport, plus the parking fee at Marlboro.
that if the allegations are true, this would certainly be problematic.
The commission, however, needs more information to decide
an investigation is justified.
previously told Niemand that the Gautrain service to the airport is an
exclusive service between Sandton and
OR Tambo, with extra space for luggage. “Doors to these coaches do not
open at Marlboro and Rhodesfield, so as to prevent commuters boarding
and disturbing airport passengers.”
Responding to enquiry, Dr Barbara Jensen, spokesperson for the Gautrain management agency, strongly denied that any
such agreement between Gautrain and Acsa existed. “From the start we said there would be two separate services.”
These are firstly the
airport service from Sandton to OR Tambo. “After requests from the
public, we opened the airport service doors at Marlboro as well. This
also makes it possible for airport passengers to transfer to the train
second service is the general passenger service from Rosebank (and later Park Station) and Hatfield, and the link to Rhodesfield.
Acsa did not respond to a request for comment.