I must admit that I have been thrilled at the prospect of being able to take decent and practical public transport in Joburg for some time. I have watched the development of the Gautrain with excitement (and some irritation due to road closures etc if I am honest). I have also had many conversations with a variety of my fellow South Africans looking at all of the negative aspects of the Gautrain – security, cost, accessibility etc and these far outweighed the positive sides of public transport (avoiding traffic is a big one, and of course a much more carbon emission friendly way to get around!). With the grand opening of the Gautrain, I could not miss the opportunity to join throngs of other South Africans from many communities in giving it a go. And I must say that I am more than impressed. It was efficient, easy, impressive, bright, clean and affordable. The trains themselves are brilliant, on time, had a very prominent security presence and in comparison, the Gautrain certainly beats other forms of equivalent subways and metros that I have been on in other parts of the world. And taking 12 minutes to get from Sandton to the airport – who would ever want to take that drive again?!
So here’s to public transport working in South Africa, to new buses and good trains. To being able to get around easily as a resident, and for visitors to Joburg to do the same, and to cutting carbon all at the same time! WOW! Well done to all those involved – and for all of you travelling to or around Joburg, give the Gautrain a go – it sure beats traffic jams any day!
The Gautrain launched on 8 June with the primary route being the Airport to Sandton link (R100 per trip – perhaps a bit high) with other stops being at Rhodesfield and Marlboro. Rosebank and Park station stops are scheduled to open later this year, with the Pretoria leg being in operation in 2011. For more information on ticketing – you will need to get a Gautrain Gold Card and buy some credit – schedules (every 15 mins in Rush hour and 20 mins in off peak time) etc visit www.gautrain.co.za.