Friday, June 4, 2010

South Africa's public transport - Rea Vaya Rocks

Last week, I was fortunate enough to see SA vs Colombia at Soccer City (image attached). The vibe at the stadium was inspiring. But, the ‘inspiring’ experience started before that.....

Very few northern-suburbs, middle-class South Africans are aware of the fact that South Africa has an amazing public transport infrastructure. The public transport is lacking in many repsects. I still cannot get from home to work. But parts of the system are phenomenal.

Despite the real problems facing SA, despite the arm-chair critcisms, despite the naysayers.....Many parts of the South African system are actually working (see my post on the public health system too. Click here)

Following the unexpected interest in my Rea Vaya trips last week, I thought I would post a short description of what transpired.

My Rea Vaya experience was awesome. I am proud of the public transport Johannesburg offers. It was professional and efficient.

It was as good as any public transport I have used in the US, Asutralia, Israel or England. I felt like a tourist, in my own city.

Sadly for me, too efficient. I had to wait at Soccer City for 2 hours for my mates to arrive with the tickets. They used the park and walk facilities

Workplace To Soccer City

I left my car in the work-place parkade. Time: 6:28pm.
I got onto Sauer, and walked to Commissioner Street
I turned right into Commissioner street. There is Rea Vaya bus stop a few metres from the Commissioner/Sauer intersection

I waited in line to buy tickets (image attached). That took approximately 5 minutes (image attached). The ticket booth staff were friendly and helpful. Tickets cost R6 (each way). I bought both tickets (for each way) at that point.

There were Rea Vaya staff members on the bus stop platform. They too were helpful, and told me which bus to use.
It was a brand new, modern bus.
It was full of passengers (approx 100)
And it was spotless.

We passed SAPS and Metro Police stationed along the way. The route was safe and secure. There were two stops (if I recall) before getting to Soccer City.
I arrived at the Soccer City stop, where fellow passengers said to me “This is your stop. Enjoy the game”. Time: 6:54pm

The Soccer City Rea Vaya stop is a few hundred metres from the stadium (image attached). There is an underground tunnel from the bus stop, linking the bus stop with the stadium grounds.

Soccer City to Jo'burg CBD

After the game, I made my way to the Rea Vaya NORTH station. Nite: NORTH is for people going back to the CBD
There were several busses waiting for passengers. I got into the first one. We waited for the bus to fill up before heading back to the CBD. That took approximately 10 minutes
Once in the CBD, the bus turned into Market. The trip back into the CBD took less than 15 minutes

I got off at the first Market Street bus stop, and walked up to Sauer(image attached), turning left into Sauer, towards the my workplace parkade.

The streets were quiet, clean, but unfortunately deserted. There is not much life in the Jo'burg CBD. That is a great pity. People asked me if it was safe.

The answer:

"Absolutely Yes"

There was nobody on the streets. Ofcourse it was safe. Being at home, or in a car - one is probably not too safe. But on Jo'burg city streets - one of the safest places to be.

If a mugger is waiting for passing trade on Jo'burg's streets - he has the kakkest job in the world.

I say: Get out of your homes and cars and onto the streets people.

The Rea Vaya service was brilliant.

It was simple, quick and safe

I would advise any Jo'burg resident to us public transport for the World Cup Soccer games


My Rea Vaya experience was amazing.

The service was simple, quick and safe…..

But I cannot guarantee simplicity, speed and safety

This is South Africa after all :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Uri,
    In 2007, I met one of the South African delegations that travelled to Latin America to explore this transit concept and since then have been watching the evolution of the Rea Vaya as much as I can using the internet. I have to say, aside from the Rea Vaya website/facebook and a bit of action on an urban forum I have found the web to be bewilderingly scarce on it. Your blog post is a welcome find.

    From what I have seen in a few photos here and there, Rea Vaya really is an impressive looking system and I am glad to (finally somewhere) read that it is earning high marks with locals. I think the concept is immensely adaptable and offers great potential to a very wide variety of places (thinking of the many transit-lacking cities and suburbs in North America).
    Cheers and all the best from Canada,