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jeremy thorpe
 
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E-tolls, Gautrain and Metrorail

16 January 2014, 13:18

This is a follow-up to an article I wrote a couple of days ago headed “E-tolls; another nasty surprise!”

In it I bitched about how Sanral’s sms and invoicing scare tactics were forcing me into paying, so that I could benefit from the 60% discount and avoid having a massive bill hanging over my head  

The comments (all 64 of them) were interesting to say the least…and in many cases both instructive and constructive. A few of you praised my honesty, a few more thought I could have held out a bit longer before giving in – and a lot of you felt I should “grow a pair!”  

OK, consider them grown!

I have to admit that decision became quite a bit easier after I went on the internet and looked up Gautrain and Metrorail fares and timetables and found out they could actually work for me.

I’d  never previously given it much thought, but a Metrorail line goes right past the institution where I work and there’s a convenient little station which, it turns out, is just a 5-minute walk from my office. So yesterday I gave Gautrain and Metrorail a try.

It didn’t go exactly according to plan. It was my daughter’s first day back at school…and that meant her having to find her classroom and me having to help her carry up a pile of books and stationery. That meant I missed the 7 28am Gautrain from Rosebank station – and that, in turn, meant I missed the Metrorail train I’d planned to catch from Pretoria station to Pretoria West…and I had to wait 45 minutes for the next one to come along.

It did feel a bit odd being the only white guy waiting on Pretoria station’s Metrorail platform, but it was a lovely sunny morning, I never felt the slightest bit uneasy – and those people I spoke to were friendly and helpful. Oh yes, and the train, while a slow, rattly old thing compared with the Gautrain, was clean and delivered me to my destination just 12 minutes later.

OK, that was Day 1.The return trip was much quicker – and now I know the timings, I can really make the trains work for me.  

Best of all is the price comparison. Travelling from Joburg to Pretoria and back daily by car costs me R3 000pm in fuel plus R600pm in e-toll fees (if I were to pay them!).  Gautrain and Metrorail monthly tickets , plus parking at Rosebank station plus the bit of fuel I use to get there, will cost around R2 500pm.

 I’ll continue to use the car occasionally, if I have to go to a meeting or have packages to carry to work. But train travel is a very viable alternative – and one I’ll use a lot more in the future.

I’m sure many of you will have used the Gautrain by now, but if you haven’t you can take it from me that it’s fantastic. It’s quick, clean and quiet, there are regular onboard announcements telling you where you are – and it’s spot-on time! And it doesn’t go under those cursed e-toll gantries!     

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