Riding the Gautrain

5 Sep

I recently decided to take a trip on the Gautrain for a second time to see if it could become a part of commuting between Johannesburg and the outer universe in which I live. You see, it takes me an average of fifty minutes to an hour each time I have to travel to varsity or home. At this point in time I don’t really mind that much because I get to listen to Talk 702 and enjoy listening to the commentary on news worthy topics and that replaces the time I used to spend sitting in my garage before I headed indoors for Shift 2. Driving for that amount of time is not so bad because the traffic is moving on the freeway even if it is at 30 kilometers per hour but that’s because the rainy season hasn’t started and if you live in Joburg, you can expect robots to be out when the rains come!
Back to the story. The main reason for taking the train over two days was because we were leaving for Durban on the Friday and I didn’t want to drive an hour in, write my test, drive an hour back home and then hit the road.
So on Thursday, after my classes I went to sit at the bus stop on campus and pretty much asked the first person I saw how the bus circuits and schedules worked and how I could get to the Gautrain at Park Station. The first young lady had no idea what I was talking about let alone willing to help but the girl sitting next to her could have been an angel for all I know, she was so incredibly helpful. She (whose name I cannot recall) explained where the nearest residence to Park Station was for me to get a bus to and where the actual schedule was to know which bus I should get on to. Se also remarked how she could tell that this was my first time taking public transport, to which I blushed. She was right! Truth be told, my parents never really allowed nor forbid me to take public transport, I never really needed to. They were happy to take me where ever I wanted to go until I could drive and I was what you would call a “goodie-two-shoes” or in my books a “from the farm”. Let me quickly explain. I lived in a little town in Kwazulu-Natal called Eshowe, it had 2 main roads, 5 robots, 1 shopping mall and you pretty much knew EVERYONE in town who wasn’t related to you. In the middle of high school, my family moved to the big city (back then) Durban. When my friends wanted to go to the Workshop for an actual movie vs going to the matinée we took a Patco bus but mostly, my mother dropped us off and picked us up because she had fairly flexible working hours. And even when I was allowed to have a boyfriend, my dad would take us to the malls. When I now look back, that could have been so embarrassing except that I knew where they were coming from and honestly just wanted me to be safe. It was a wonderful and sheltered upbringing for which I make no apologies, if I had a daughter, I can bet you now I’d be the same.
So again, back at the varsity bus stop. The bus taking us to the res finally arrives and we get on and continue chatting. We discovered that we actually have similar life experiences so it was really nice to reassure this young lady that her life decisions weren’t crazy but did also require some serious consideration in the long run. Knowing how somewhat nervous I was about walking in town alone she offered to walk me to the Gautrain Station that was passed her place of accommodation and told me how to handle myself in the streets so that I’d be fine. She really was a sweetheart.
Once at the Station I went to buy a card and load it so that I could travel the following day as well. The train arrived within four minutes and seventeen minutes later I was ready to picked up. On the Friday (the next day we were to travel) I researched the Train times as well as the Gautrain and Wits bus routes to plan my trip and downloaded the Gautrain app to keep me in the loop, I felt so clever. Sadly though I did take me about an hour or so to get to varsity which included a ten minute walk through town to get to varsity.
Needles to say, Riding the Gautrain was an incredible experience for someone who has never been abroad to places that have the subway. It’s really 1st class since I have no concept of what world class is. There security is visible and very helpful, not once did I feel unsafe. The facility is clean and tidy. It’s definitely a consideration for maybe a once a week trip which would be all the more enticing if they had wireless access down in those tunnels but hey, having some “offline” time is not a bad thing as well. If you haven’t been on the train, I highly suggest you do even if its just for the hell of it, it’s not that costly at all.


3 Responses to “Riding the Gautrain”

  1. Ankia September 6, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    We’ve taken James on a trip from Hatfield to Sandton, had lunch there and came back. Was a lot of fun and we were also duly impressed 🙂


    • Corinne September 6, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      That’s actually quite a good idea! How much does it cost for kids?


  2. Sam September 6, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Wait! Corinne you grew up in Eshowe? I also grew up in Eshowe from half way between std 6 all the way to Matric! I never knew we shared ESHOWE of all places 🙂

    I wanna take Kade on the Gautrain to Centurion and back (when at Centurion we can meet up with my mom for lunch)



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