Two thumbs up for the golden train

2010-07-03 15:00

As a journalist I am privy to a quite a few things, however, I

don’t accept every invite because sometimes I like to experience this beautiful

country like an everyday citizen.

For this reason, I recently declined an invite to the launch of the

Gautrain.


Over the last few years my annoyance with driving on the road has

only become worse.

I suffer from terrible road rage but also from a real fear of

driving after an accident on a busy road which saw me facing oncoming

traffic.


The point is that for years I have been telling myself that the

road closures, the redirection of traffic and even the tremors – because of the

blasting that goes with finishing a project such as the Gautrain – were worth

it.


After driving from Auckland Park to Sandton for Africa Fashion Week

in a taxi literally hooked onto the bumper of my car hooting at me, I decided

that tonight was the night to put the Gautrain to the test.


Off I went to the Sandton parkade built especially for those

wanting to park at the station.

Parking was easy to find and while those horrid

yellow barriers peppered the parking, excitement took over as we made our way

towards the pay-points.


After going down the stairs and then up the escalators and then

down again (note: Sandton station is not conducive to heels), we made our way to

the pay-point system where, believe it or not, friendly and efficient staff

assisted us in getting a “limited launch edition” card.


Even more surprisingly, the trip that I was about to take from

Sandton station to

Malboro station was going to set me back a mere R16.50.


That’s the amount of petrol it probably takes me to get from home

to the parking lot at work!


Add on another R10 for the actual card and I was sorted. Three

minutes – I timed them – that’s how long it took me to get my Gautrain admin

sorted out.


We made our way down and up and down (again) some very fast-moving

escalators. This was by far the most annoying part of the journey – but I was

told the lifts would be working soon.


Finally, we landed on the platform – where, in the distance, a

shining light was headed towards us. I was in awe.


The train has blue and white seating and carpeting of the same

colour.

An automated voice on the intercom announced: “Next. Stop. Malboro.

Station.”


By the time the 160km/h train really began to gain momentum I had

already reached my destination.


Four minutes: the time the journey took to get from point A to

point B.


As a South African, efficiency and effectiveness are words that I

don’t often use.

Ironically, those are the only words that come to mind when

describing the experience.


I can’t wait to do it again.
 

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