MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

jeremy thorpe
Comments: 19
Article views: 2833
Latest Badges:

View all jeremy thorpe's badges.

"Train" yourself to avoid e-tolls!

23 July 2014, 13:38

Six months ago – in mid January – I wrote an article on News 24 in which I described how I’d found an alternate means of getting from Joburg to Pretoria and back daily, thus managing to avoid paying e-tolls on the Ben Schoeman highway.

My journey to work now involves a trip on the Gautrain from Rosebank to Pretoria, followed by a brief 12 minute trip on Metrorail from Pretoria station to my place of work. Since January I’ve done the train journeys on average 3 times a week, using the car only when I need to take packages to work or when I have to see clients.   

When I wrote the original article, some of you suggested I might be in for a few nasty surprises, particularly with regard to Metrorail and that I may change my mind and go back to using the car. Well, 6 months down the line, as it were, I thought it was time for a bit of feedback.

Let’s start with the Gautrain. For anyone reading this who hasn’t yet used the Gautrain, it is undoubtedly the most first-world land-transport system available in South Africa. It’s fast, quiet, clean and comfortable and, most importantly, it’s on time to the minute. You can genuinely set your watch by its arrival and departure times! 

That said, there are a couple of minor niggles. One of these is Gautrain’s apparently illogical use of four-car and eight-car trains. For example, Gautrain’s stated afternoon rush hour times, during which it charges a higher rate, are from approximately 3 30pm to 6pm. Yet about a third of all the Joburg-Pretoria trains that run in both directions in this busy period are four-car trains. This is crazy. I was unlucky enough to catch a four-car rush-hour train a couple of weeks ago – and I wound up standing all the way from Pretoria back to Joburg!

Other small issues……why do the four car trains stop halfway down the platform at Pretoria station, thus forcing latecomers to run the length of a four-car train to catch, and often miss, their train? And while I fully understand Gautrain’s desire to keep their stations and trains clean by refusing to allow food and drink to be sold or consumed on them, why not allow newspaper vendors at stations? The stations are obvious places to buy newspapers.       

On to Metrorail – and I guess you get what you pay for! I pay a total of just R12 50 for my two 12 minute daily trips, which is a fraction of what I pay on the Gautrain. But in return I get trains which are old, slow, often late and whose floors, thanks to the hawkers who ply their trade on the trains, are often littered with crisp bags, banana skins and peanut shells.

There have also been the issues of the PA system and announcers at Pretoria station, both of which have been useless, and there's the continuing nightmare of huge crowds waiting on platforms and pushing their way onto trains before anyone can get off.

I’ve addressed all the above issues to both Gautrain and PRASA/Metrorail management – and the responses aren’t what you might expect. Basically, there’s been no response from Gautrain, who seem to think they’re above criticism. But a little surprisingly, I’ve received a couple of rather nice emails from PRASA/Metrorail, who’ve apparently taken my suggestions seriously and appear to have plans to improve their service.

This morning, to my absolute surprise and amazement, there was a new and upgraded PA system in operation at Pretoria station, with a new and much more professional announcer.  So kudos to Metrorail…they may have a massive and massively-underfunded system – but they listen and they appear to be trying to make a difference. So I’ll continue using both Gautrain and Metrorail to get to work.

Funnily enough, I actually enjoy the train rides – and anything’s better than paying those thieving rats at Sanral…not to mention the fact that I’m saving 100km’s wear and tear on the car every time I use the trains!  


Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Denis Dendrinos
Sandton and EcoMobility

Everyone is whining and complaining about the current road closures for the roadworks and about the temporary closures for the EcoMobility month in October. Read more...

0 comments 38 views
Submitted by
Thulane Che Trosky637
The ANC's Parliament

There are signs that the ANC is losing its grip on Parliament. Read more...

0 comments 70 views
Submitted by
Thomas Hill Jr.
RWC 2015

My Completely Unqualified Opinion on Upsets and 'Supporter Hypocrisy' Read more...

0 comments 55 views
Submitted by
Andrew Nowell753
The fallacy of leave

While leave might be regarded as a luxury, it is actually a necessity for the wellbeing of any worker. Read more...

0 comments 2345 views
Submitted by
Brent Simons
Every ANC leader must act and be ...

The time to seriously discuss leadership and where we want to take the ANC and South Africa has arrived! Read more...

0 comments 686 views
Submitted by
Antoinette Harrison
My unexpected and shocking visit ...

My trip to South Africa was to visit my younger brother in hospital as he was very ill. Nobody prepared me for the site that would accost me on my arrival. to SA Read more...

0 comments 4402 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.