Transport can become quite an inconvenience for students who don’t have cars. Wits Vuvuzela investigated the different options available for students who want to travel from Wits University to Sandton. Students approached by Wits Vuvuzela prioritised reliability, convenience and affordability when choosing a mode of transport.
The infographic shows the best possible options available to students.
QUEUING QUEST: Commuters wait to catch a ride on the next taxi in Jorrisen Street. Other waiting commuters decided to rather take one of the working Metro buses (Background). Photo: Mia Swart
CONTINUING bus strikes are leaving Wits students queuing for hours for transport and arriveing late to classes.
Bus drivers have been striking since last week Friday. Striking Putco and Rea Vaya bus drivers were joined on Wednesday by long-distance luxury liners.
Witsies who normally use the buses were forced to use alternative transport methods this week to get to campus and back home while others were stuck in unusually long queues to catch their taxi ride home.
Palesa Motaung, 2nd year BA Media Studies and Politics, said it was an inconvenience as she came late for her morning classes.
Motaung waited an hour for a taxi and it took two hours for her to get to campus. “The lines were super-super long. I totally hated it,” she said.
“There aren’t enough taxis obviously.”[pullquote align=”right”]“And the bus is cheaper.” [/pullquote]
Motaung said the taxi drivers were trying to overload the taxis to help people get to work and school and to make more money. But the people protested as they waited long too long in the queue and did not want to sit four people in a row and uncomfortably.
First year BA Nancy Hakizimana normally takes the Rea Vaya bus to the Gautrain station but this week she had to walk to and from Park Station.
Khabonina Masango, 2nd year BA Politics, who also usually takes the Rea Vaya buses, had to take taxis this week. Masango said if the strike persisted she would be “sad and irritated”. She likes the Rea Vaya buses as they are very convenient, safe and clean.“And the bus is cheaper,” Masango added.
The bus strikes are currently causing taxis to carry more passengers. Bree taxi rank manager Vusi Sithole said the influx of passengers is hectic because they have to get additional vehicles from other taxi rank branches to accommodate everyone.
Sithole said they realise the strike is causing problems for the commuters. “We are doing our best to help the commuters.”
But the taxi drivers are not happy with the overload of work. Taxi driver Herbert Thuko said “the work is taking its toll” on the drivers.
“We are very frustrated because the taxi bosses expect more money from us because there are more commuters,” said Thuko.“It is expected of us to make more trips to make more money.”
Finance24 reported on Tuesday that the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) is demanding a wage increase of 18% with additional allowances for housing, night shift and long-distance journeys. The Commuter Bus Employers Organisation is offering a 6.5% wage increase.
Employers and the unions met on Wednesday at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to try and resolve the strike. But Eye Witness News reported that Satawu had said the talks had deadlocked.
Home is where the heart is, especially when you are too lazy to cook and your studies take up a chunk of your time.
Commuting to campus using taxis during my undergraduate years put a strain on my marks.
Moving closer to campus was the only solution because the construction of the Gautrain was still ongoing at the time
I had a “traumatic” experience living in student accommodation for the first time during my honours year.
My idea of communal living took a turn for the worse when cleaners went on strike or failed to clean the communal areas for that day or the loud music after midnight woke me up while I was sleeping.
For me, the Gautrain was life—changing.
I now commute daily on the Gautrain which makes travelling between Pretoria and Johannesburg much quicker and more convenient than taking a taxi. Since the route between the capital city and Rosebank was opened, I yearned to return to living in the comfort of my own home.
So, I have chosen to live at home this year and commute on the Gautrain which costs me about R50 a trip, 35 minutes on travelling and the convenience compared to taking a taxi.
But yet another illegal work stoppage by Gautrain bus drivers threatens this happy arrangement.
Each strike cripples the Gautrain service resulting in interruptions and inconvenience. Gautrain management has fired another group of 300 drivers.
According to media reports, bus drivers say their complaints of 11-hour shifts and a lack of transport to and from work had been ignored by their employers.
The bus drivers claim they work long hours without a toilet or lunch break.
Since the bus drivers went on strike, I am forced to wake up much earlier just to arrive on campus on time for my lectures. I live in an area where there are hardly any taxis.
I walk for about 45 minutes to the station, am on the train for 20 minutes and then have to pray for a direct taxi to Braamfontein from Rosebank on Jan Smuts Avenue.
A part of me does sympathise with these drivers who are probably breadwinners in their own homes. These men could also be heads of families.
But, did the drivers fail to read the fine print before inking their signatures on their contracts? Were they not told of their working hours, and the rules and regulations of the company before accepting the offer?
Or was there so much excitement at the prospect of working on the Gautrain that they failed to listen to the possible irregularities from management?
I don’t know, call it whatever you want, I might have lost touch with understanding the “working-class” lifestyle or my ramblings may just be symptoms of middle-class problems.
I could also just be bitter because of the disruption to my daily routine of using the Gautrain and the buses.
However, these bus drivers might possibly need to be treated fairly by management. I am still thinking about this while standing in the snaking queue at Noord taxi rank en route home.
Photo: Amogelang Mbatha
THE Gautrain now has a temporary link for commuters to reach the Johannesburg CBD from Rosebank station.
The Rosebank to Johannesburg CBD temporary bus route was opened on August 29 and will act as a shuttle service until the last link of the Gautrain, between Rosebank and Park Station, is completed.
The white buses with the Gautrain logo will run every 12 minutes from 5.30- 8.30am and 4-7pm and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours from Monday to Friday.
The shuttle has 15 stops on its route and ends at Anderson and Simmonds Streets. The stop at the Civic Centre, Loveday Street, is the closest stop to Wits
Students who want to use this service must have a valid Gautrain Gold Card with a minimum of R20 on it as cash is not accepted on the buses. The Gold Card costs R10 but once you have a card there is no need to buy another one.
Fares for the buses are R6 if you use the Gautrain and a bus within an hour of one another and R20 if you do not use the train and bus within an hour.
The Gautrain link between Rosebank and Park Station is scheduled to open at the end of the year and the shuttle service from Rosebank is a temporary solution to enable more people to travel in style.
To see the entire Rosebank to JHB CBD route go online to www.gautrain.co.za and download the schedule as a PDF.