How To Use Jo'burg's Minibus Taxis


Publication:
Date: 
June 11, 2010
Using Johannesburg's unoffical transport system is an adventure in itself. Here's a beginner's guide

Carless in Johannesburg. It could be the title of a low-budget horror movie. A huge, sprawling greater metropolitan area of about 10 million people covering more than 600 square miles, the city is built for the car. If you're not in one, good luck – even though most drivers will be stuck in gridlock. I've been here for a few weeks and my main exposure to the city has been on foot. And I'm not alone. The overwhelming majority of Jo'burgers are carless.

To be a pedestrian here is either to be bold or to be poor. There is public transportation to move people to and from far-off suburbs and townships – there's a new bus rapid transit system that's been developed ahead of the World Cup, as well as the Gautrain regional rail system that started this week – but public transport isn't the city's strong suit.

Filling the void is the unofficial public transit system: the minibus taxi, which more than 70% of the city's population – predominantly black residents – use to commute.