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Five hour commute to Harare




Here is an interesting viewpoint of a Capetonian’s recent commute to Harare in Khayelitsha.  Jen, the author, commuted with a Golden Arrow bus out of Cape Town and returned with a mini-bus taxi. It took her a total commuting time of 5 hours. Cape Town still has many years ahead and a need for serious interventions to make commuting around the city easier, quicker and safer. Thousands of people, living in outlying townships, experience a terrible commute to and from home, be it with Metorail, Golden Arrow or a mini-bus taxi.

Khayelitsha has never seemed far away. It’s 30kms down the N2 and I can drive there in 20 minutes if there’s no traffic. I have friends whose daily commute to work takes them longer than that. I suppose what I’m getting at, is that conceptually, Khayelitsha has always been part of my city.

This week, I went with one of my students to her research site in Harare. We wanted to experiment with different modes of transport to get there, so after some time perusing the Golden Arrow website, we squeezed on a taxi and made our way to the terminus in town. I bought a packet of Niknaks, and sat down next to the window. We were off to a good start. An hour later we were as far as Nyanga. Alfonso, who drives our students to their placements during the school term, says his GPS always triggers off an alarm when he enters Nyanga, letting him and the tracking company know the van has just entered a dangerous area. I get it, it’s dangerous, but hells, it’s also just Nyanga. People live here and love here, go to school, go the bank, sell Tupperware at the terminus.

Read the rest of the experience at Jen’s stories of Cape Town on her blog entitled east and west of the airport.

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Rouen Smit

Future Cape Town Co-Founder

Future actuary working at a company based in Cape Town. Love open water swimming. Love taking public transport and feeling the city.

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  • gksa

    Jeesh, and I freak out when my commute from Gardens to Camps Bay takes longer than an hour…

    • Yeah, us South Africans have been very privileged to be able to just drive with our own private vehicles basically everywhere. We still have a long way to go to become a true public transport nation. Nonetheless, public transport alternatives at the moment are hopeless and not viable alternatives. It will hopefully change soon (in Cape Town at least) with the @MyCiTibus:twitter network expanding and feeder busses coming soon (which I hope you will use on your Gardens to Camps Bay commute!) and the Transport Authority being set up by the @CityofCT:twitter .

      • gksa

        Hehe, I was talking about public transport, though.  I always catch a minibus taxi in Kloofnek to Camps Bay for work (this only works between 16:00 and 17:30, though – if I have to be there at other times, I have to travel to the Station Deck and go around Sea Point).  

        I’ve been counting the months until MyCiTi starts up the Kloofnek-Camps Bay route!  Now it looks like I’ll be moving a bit further away before it happens – but at least I’ll still be in the City Bowl route network area.  Now, if I can just get clarity on whether the service will cater for late-night travel?  I should have shares in a certain cab company by now!

        • The @MyCiTiBus:twitter service won’t initially have an extended night service. It should end on ‘normal time’ which is 9-10:30pmish. However, once demand increases they will eventually have a night time table with reduced frequencies and a smaller network. Can’t wait tho!

          • gksa

            When that finally happens, it would be welcomed by all of us in the service industry… At the times when other people relax and play, we work at our hardest – only to find that by the time we are finished, the city has shut down, including all reasonable public transport options.  I hope they finally spare a thought for everyone involved in making the nightlife Cape Town is famous for, possible.