Travel Tips - Moving around
Gauteng Transport 2014
How do people with disabilities manage to travel within the Gauteng province?
Here’s a look at the various transportation modes and how they link together to form an Intermodal network. In 2011, Gauteng MEC of Transport, Ismail Vardi, was tasked to put together a panel of experts to formulate a 25 year, Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25), in order to re-fashion the existing transport system within the province (and link it to the neighbouring provinces) in a way that is reliable, accessible, safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable.
This plan is obviously a long term one, but they have started with the central hub of the province – which includes the areas of Johannesburg, Tswane, Ekhuruleni and Sedibeng.
So which transport services interlink? The various Intermodal hubs link rail and bus services, as well as minibus taxi ranks. This system offers transport options for passengers that suit various personal requirements.
Arriving in Gauteng – via air, road or rail (the SA national rail services are not wheelchair accessible at present).
There are two International Airports – O.R.Tambo International Airport and Lanseria International Airport, as well as a number of local airports – Wonderboom, Grand Central and Rand Airport that offer access to private and charter operations.
So once you’ve arrived – how do you get to your hotel or home? There are a number of options - The Gautrain, car hire companies, Metro Bus, Rea Vaya BRT, metered taxis, minibus taxis and transfer companies.
The Gautrain is a rapid passenger train service that has an intersecting hub in Sandton. There is a North - South line that starts at Park Station, in the centre of Johannesburg and travels through Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Midrand, Pretoria and ends at Hatfield. The East – West line starts at Sandton and travels through Marlboro to Rhodesfield and to O.R. Tambo International Airport. There is a dedicated Gautrain bus service that runs from each of the stations into the surrounding suburbs. However, there are a limited number of accessible busses and the access ramps are too steep for independent entry. There is also only one place for a wheelchair per bus. There are Metro Rail links at Park Station, Pretoria, Hatfield and Rhodesfield Stations.
This service is expensive and only runs between 06h00 – 20h30, with stations opening at 05h00 ad closing at 21h30
Car Hire companies
Not all car hire companies offer vehicles with fitted hand controls. Should you require a car with hand controls fitted – you need to arrange the reservation at least 72 hours before pick up. See RI Product Review Nov/Dec 2013.
In the Gauteng province, there are no specially adapted metered taxi vehicles to transport wheelchair users.
This service is a difficult to access, as the taxis are privately owned and therefore are not regulated. Should you be able to convince a driver to load you and your wheelchair into taxi manually, they may charge up to three times the standard fare. The positive aspect of this service is that minibus taxis are stationed outside every transportation hub, shopping centre and public building. They will also drop you off wherever you want, along their routes.
They cover specific routes to accommodate people with disabilities, offering them a service to and from work. There are six adapted busses that run along the following routes: Within Soweto; Soweto to Eldorado Park, Soweto to Johannesburg, Alexandra to Johannesburg, Naturena to Johannesburg and Johannesburg to Sandton. The busses have ramps and seatbelts to secure wheelchairs. A pre-paid tag system is available for people with disabilities, who use the yellow tag, which is valid for three months.
Rea Vaya Bus System
Phase 1 of this new bus system was introduced to assist with the daily transport of workers from Soweto to Johannesburg and around the city. The Intermodal hub at Park Station links Rea Vaya, Metro Rail and Gautrain services. The fares system works on a preloaded smart card and is calculated on the distance you travel. Single trips cost about R13 and return trips around R25..
There are registered tour guides who offer accessible transfers and tours within the province as well as into the surrounding provinces. They use accessible vehicles with lifts and ramp systems. See Rolling Inspiration article July/August 11
There is a new accessible transport service within the Pretoria area called Mobility Care Cab, that offers a modified vehicle which transports wheelchair users safely. The charges are calculated per trip, including assistants or family members travelling with the person with a disability.