South African Transportation How do they get around in South Africa?
There are basically 7 forms of transportation that South Africans use to get from one place to another. Can you guess what those 7 forms are?
Personal Car Walking Bicycle Horse Drawn Cart Buses Taxi Vans Trains
Why is public transportation so important? There are approximately 3.9 million public transport commuters. There are about 44 million people in this country, 40% (17.6 million) are unemployed and not using any transportation. 30 per cent of households in South Africa spend more than 10 percent of their income on public transport.
Walking Many South Africans find themselves without any form of transportation or they need to walk to the nearest form of public transportation. Many times they find the buses, trains or taxis full. Hitchhiking and walking, at times, are the only way for many people to get to work.
Bicycles Bicycles are used for work, play and exercise. Because of the climate in South Africa, they are useful almost every day of the year.
Horse and Cart
Why horse and cart? In the townships, it is not uncommon to see a horse and cart transporting goods and even people to their destinations. Horses are tethered and can graze along the roads, therefore do not need to be fed. Many of migrants are coming from rural areas of South Africa, where they lived on farms without other forms of transportation. They arrived in the townships on horse. Many cannot afford automobiles or the cost of tickets for other forms of transportation. Horses are the next best thing.
Mini Bus Taxis
Mini Bus Taxis 2.5 million taxi commuters account for over 63 percent of public transport work trips. There are another 325,000 commuters who use taxis as a feeder mode to other public transport services. The informal public transport system in South Africa is dominated by minibus taxis. This is the cheapest form of transport and the daily lifeline of the bulk of the working population. Minibus taxis are the only form of public transport that penetrates every sector in cities, including the poorest shack settlements. Minibus taxi drivers, rushing their fares to their destinations as quickly as possible in order to maximize returns, are often seen as the most notorious drivers, ducking wildly from lane to lane and stopping without warning whenever a passenger wishes to climb on or off.
Calling for riders The gentleman in the red hat is calling and whistling for riders.
Mini Bus Taxis To ride a mini bus, it could cost anywhere from R4 to R9 per ride. Each mini bus can hold anywhere from 10-13 passengers, although some drivers will put in as many as 15 riders at a time. These drivers can be seen stopping anyplace a rider can be found, and can be heard whistling and yelling where their destination is. Most minibus drivers are required to meet a quota each day, and this quota may be as high as R600 per day (about $75). If they do not meet this quota, they can lose their jobs. If they go above the quota, they get to keep the difference. Drivers will do just about anything to get from one point to another as quickly as possible. Many accidents occur at the fault of these drivers. When mini bus taxi companies begin to buy new vehicles, the company owners often live in hiding due to the feelings of envy and resentment that are experienced in the communities that make them rich.
Looking For Riders This driver’s assistant is yelling where the mini bus is heading. He is trying to find as many riders as possible from this location.
Bus Bus services account for another 22 percent of public transport: about 858,000 riders per day.
The BRT The BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) started August 31, 2009. This is a new system of public transportation that offers rates competitive to the mini bus system. The government is hoping to build BRT ridership to about 50% of all commuters in the next two years, replacing many of the unsafe mini buses.
Train 15% or 585,000 commuters use the train to get to and from work on a daily basis.
Inside Back of the train car Personal Information The train was nearly empty at 8:30 in the morning. Most of the riders travel to the city very early in the morning. The 1:00 train was full, we needed to stand for the first few stops, until sitting passengers got off.
The Ride Basic information Tickets cost anywhere from R2 - R8.50 depending on the length of the ride, equivalent to $0.25 – $1.10. We rode the train about 30 kilometers (about a 45 minute ride) for R8.50 each way.
The Car Most cars are very small and get very good gas mileage (35-50 miles per gallon). The roads around Cape Town are constantly under construction, very similar to Minnesota! Highways are always busy, traffic can be terrible depending on the time of day. One day your daily commute can take 20 minutes, the next day it could take nearly 2 hours. Accidents are very common on the highways. Drivers need to be extremely cautious at all times. The driving rules and laws are very different from Minnesota. It is important to be aware of them when you visit.