With a fleet of new buses, Metropolitan
Bus Services (telephone: (011) 403 4300) offers a scheduled
bus service covering 108 routes within the Greater Johannesburg
Metropolitan area. The service runs from 6.00 am to 7.00 pm and
is less convenient than the forms of taxi transport
but possibly safer, although visitors should not travel on an empty
bus, due to the high risk of mugging. Fares work
on a zonal system centring on Ghandi Square (formerly Vanderbijl
Square) bus terminus, corner of Main and Rissik Streets, with zone
1 (single fare R 2,50) closest and zone 6 (single fare R 9) farthest.
No bus passes are presently available. Tickets can be bought on
the bus from the driver or 10 trip clipcards can be bought from
kiosks at Ghandi Square bus terminus. A fine of R 200 can be forced
on anyone not in possession of a valid ticket.
The quickest (but not necessarily safest) way to
get around Johannesburg is on 1 of the minibus taxis (sometimes
called Zola Budds), which depart when full, pick up anywhere (just
hold up an arm with raised index finger) and serve the main routes
from 5.00 am to 9.00 pm. The primary minibus ranks
are at the Newtown public car park, along the length of Noord Street
between Twist and Claim Streets, and at Kazerne, on the corner of
Sauer and Pim Streets. Visitors should note that taxi ranks are
overwhelmed by petty thievery and should use a metered taxi if overloaded
with baggage. The fare from central Johannesburg to Sandton or Soweto
is around R 7, closer destinations, such as Melville and Bruma Lake,
can cost between R 3 and R 5. There are no passes or pre paid tickets
accessible for minibus taxis.
Metered taxis are considerably more expensive however
far safer and more convenient than minibuses. They
do not cruise the streets and apart from at the airport and major
hotels, they are generally waiting at an official rank, can only
be telephoned for pickup. Visitors must ensure that the controller
(on the telephone) and the driver decides the fare before allowing
any luggage to be loaded. The meter rate is usually around R 4 to
R 6 per kilometre, however, this is not correctly regulated so all
fares should be confirmed with the driver in before. Unlike locals,
foreigners often tip, and, although it is not expected, a R 10 to
R 20 tip is appreciated. Visitors should keep away from all men
offering rides in their taxis, as these are likely to be unregistered,
illegal and unroadworthy.
Radio Taxis (telephone: (011) 403 0000, facsimile: (011) 403
9896) are well established and have a reputation for reliability.
Alternatively, Maxi Taxi Cabs (telephone: (011) 648 1212, facsimile:
(011) 648 8581) are also advised.
Ambassador Limousines (telephone: (011) 886 7313, facsimile: (011)
886 7339, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
offers limousines, starting at R 350 per hour (minimum 3 hours).
SALimousines (telephone: (011) 614 4581, facsimile: (011) 614 7617)
and VIPLimo (telephone: (082) 903 0888, facsimile: (011) 615 3506,
email address: email@example.com)
hire limousines at R 550 for the 1st hour and R 250 per hour thereafter.
Driving in the City
Johannesburg’s rise fairly closely parallels that of the vehicle
and this has allowed successive city planners to cater extremely
well for the needs of private motorists. The network of roads and
highways is brilliant and well maintained
and, apart from in the Central Business District (CBD), parking
facilities are generally more than adequate.
There is secure pay parking (R 3 to R 5 per hour)
at Park City (24 hours) and at the Kazerne Municipal Parking Garage
(6.00 am to 6.00 pm), entered from Simmonds. Visitors using street
parking will come across children and adults hanging around
the area and expect a tip of about R 2 for guarding people’s
cars, it is recommended to pay up as not guarding the car may actually
mean damaging it.
Traffic congestion is generally limited to the
rush hour periods of 7.00 am to 9.00 am and 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
At other times, most locations within the city can be reached easily
in under an hour. The main road hazards are poor driving (especially
by minibus taxi drivers), a lack of evident traffic policing and
the constant danger of attack by smash and grab thieves and armed
hijackers. Visitors should never stop for hitchhikers
or at accident scenes and always keep their windows up and doors
locked. After dark, several motorists also (illegally) ignore red
traffic lights when in isolated or deserted areas, such as highway
exits or intersections adjacent to parks, generally for safety reasons.
The car hire companies with a reputation for reliability
(although not essentially for low prices) are Avis
and Imperial. Avis (telephone: 0861 021111) has a branch in Sandton,
167A Rivonia Road, Morningside, with rates starting from R 220 per
Imperial has branches nationwide nationwide (telephone:
(011) 784 1452), and the Rivonia Boulevard branch, Rivonia Road,
Morningside, offers rates from R 173 per day. A cheaper option for
travellers may be Apex (telephone: (011) 402 5150, facsimile: (011)
402 0655), otherwise known as Rent-A-Wreck, with branches at several
locations. Apex rates are from R 70 per day, R 500 weekly (not including
All the above rates do not include insurance and
other charges. Optional insurance is provided by the car hire agencies
and is highly advised, particularly against theft. All car hire
companies require drivers to be at least 23 years old and to have
been driving for a minimum of 5 years. A passport, credit card and
International Driving Permit (IDP) will be necessary.
Hire and Scooter Hire
Johannesburg’s town planners have made absolutely no
provision for bicycles in their grand schemes and subsequently
several motorists do not view cyclists as being legitimate users
of the road. It therefore comes as no shock that no one hires out
bicycles in Johannesburg.