Cheap­est way to Jozi?

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

A READER who has to go to Jo’burg on a weekly ba­sis on a con­tract job asked me what is the cheap­est way to get to the Big Smog from our fair PMB?

Bear in mind the toll fees one way amount to R218. A three-quar­ter tank of fuel for the 500km trip costs over R700. Add a can of oil and snacks from any of the ex­pen­sive fore­courts along the N3, and the lux­ury of driv­ing one way to Jo’burg in splen­did iso­la­tion will cost around R1 000.

So, I told the reader a long dis­tance taxi is the cheap­est, fastest way to get to Gaut­eng from PMB.

Taxi divers tell me De­cem­ber prices will likely go up to R300 for a one-way seat (and all the Maskandi you can lis­ten to for ma­hala).

The next best bet is a bus. Booked well in ad­vance, long dis­tance bus tick­ets cost as much (or as lit­tle) as a seat on a taxi, and their com­fort is on par with that of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

De­spite 15 mil­lion peo­ple a day us­ing pub­lic trans­port, the friend was a bit du­bi­ous on safety.

“What about the train?” he asked. So I rode the Shosholoza Meyl, which cost about the same as a Grey­hound bus ticket.

Be­cause it was mid-week, I had a dou­ble bunk coupe to my­self and with no ca­bles stolen that day, the train ar­rived on sched­ule at the clean and mod­ern Park Sta­tion, from where I took the Gau­train and cheap Gau­train bus to the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

But Prasa’s clumsy elec­tronic book­ing forced me to buy a ticket the old fash­ioned way, hand­ing over cash at the sta­tion, and af­ter an all-night jour­ney with many a jud­der­ing stop and clang­ing start, the toi­lets were full to over­flow­ing.

Also, the next week, ca­bles were stolen and the Meyl halted in some in­dus­trial part of the West Rand for most of the day. This hap­pens rather a lot, the con­duc­tor told me.

Hence, I rec­om­mend driv­ing your own car with four peo­ple in it.

Even if they are not pay­ing pas­sen­gers, the to­tal cost to Jozi now amounts to R250 per per­son, mak­ing a fam­ily car the most cost ef­fec­tive and — more im­por­tantly — the most com­fort­able way to get to GP. (This of course ex­cludes the monthly ex­penses one has to pay on a car re­gard­less of whether it is parked or in use.)

In­stead of spend­ing all your sav­ings on road­side snacks, I also sug­gest boil­ing up some eggs and mak­ing sarmies. This way you can stop at scenic spots (where it is safe to do so) to turn the jour­ney into the des­ti­na­tion. • Have a travel-re­lated ques­tion in south­ern Africa? Send it to Al­wyn.Viljoen@wit­ness.co.za

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