Gautrainer - In the beginning

2014-03-25 09:39

In the beginning the train was empty and the platforms shiny. There where more security guards on one shift telling you NOT to eat your bubblegum than passengers, scurrying around finding out which escalator goes to the Sandton platform - and it was good. It (Gautrain) became a way of life, a sub-culture on its own, and, though its a mere mode of transport there are so many people and moods and cultures involved that I can not let the chance go by as to share the experiences we all have and how that reflects on us, where we are, and where we are going.

I have seen impeccably dressed girls in high heels doing astonishing balancing acts whilst running to catch  a closing train door - and the fashion, it could be an article in any magazine  titled "train wear".  Noticeable is how good manners and etiquette can not be bought, and how a smile and a friendly nod can change a frown into relaxed mode.

There are different type of "Gautrainers", the "park & riders", they are the people wearing very high fashion  but mostly uncomfortable shoes, they park at the station and walk through - the "bussers", normally wearing comfortable running or walking shoes, as not one of us really lives right next to a bus stop, and yes, the running shoe industry must have picked up quite considerably - the "bikers", here the helmet and bulky jacket gives everything away - the "cyclists", a little more perspiration here,  the odd one with a "bike in a zip bag" over the shoulder - and last but definitely not least -the "drop offs", much more relaxed than all the previously mentioned.

There is definitely merit in rather taking the train, and not just monetary. I have seen people getting along, laughing with each other, communicating and participating in debate - the train seems to be "the great equalizer". It has no preferences, does not mind your gender, sexual orientation, color or politics - it takes us all to where we have to go in the same time.

It has been more than a year now that I have been commuting with the Gautrain and it seems that the "secret" is out - gone are the days that you have a seat, or at least a comfortable, breathable standing spot. Seems though that no one else has noticed this increase in passengers and decrease in available safe space for traveling. The thing that I understand the least is how people can be oblivious to "peak times" - it should go without saying that between 06H00 and 08H00 in the morning people tend to want to go to work, and that between 16H00 and 18H00 those people would want to return home - ergo, the volumes of people actually increase at these times so maybe, and I'm taking a wild guess here, but just maybe you should have more 8 carts and less 4 carts?

Busses should also be added because 37 people on a bus, after a long day, just smells like bad planning on someone's part, maybe too busy counting all the money they are making to sense that somewhere service to the paying clientele is being derailed.  But more about us next time, let us see what new and interesting things happens this week, we'll all hold or breathes in the meantime, just for some extra space.

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