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Traffic In Johannesburg

Updated on June 18, 2008

Traffic in JHB

On a Sunday after 3 public holidays April 27 June ! and 2 may be a crazy time to talk about traffic in johannesburg. But this the only time one can talk on this topic without blowing a gasket ( human one not the one in the car!).

Our traffic situation has perhaps caught up with the rest of the world. A commute from Centurion (near Pretoria ( or Twsane as some would have it) to Midrand is about 16km. This should take around 10 to 12 minutes on the highway. However this takes about 35 minutes to 90 minutes. The total time is totally unpredictable as heavy traffic , accidents or simply a large number of heavy duty vehicles change the dynamics.,

Most cars have only 1 occupant as we have a non existant publc transport system, we have a taxi system but that is a subject for another day.

We are building the famous Gautrain - a metro rail system - to cover the greater Gauteng area. This basically Johannesburg, Sandton, Pretoria and he Airport in Kempton Park which wlll go some way to alleviiating the commuter situation..

Phase 1 will be ready in time for the soccer World cup in 2010.

We have tried various experiments such as on ramp traffic light monitoring and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. These have not been highly successful as they simply aggravate the congestion issue. The HOV gave rise to motorists simply ignoring the 3 or more occupancy rule or putting sex toy adult dummies into their cars (not to play with but simply to up the passenger count.).

Motorists in Gauteng are not know for their tolerance and if you try to avoid the highway you stand a good chance of running into traffic lights which are out due to electricity load shedding. This takes place in peak hours adding to the chaos. One solution to this is the introduction of Solar powered traffc lights as we have plenty of sunshine. This too is a long process which will take place over time

I mentioned Taxis earlier. These are minibus taxis which load up to 20 passengers into vehicles designed for 16 passengers. They ignore rules of the road, lack courtesy, and are recompensed on a per trip, per passenger, basis and therefore need to do as many trips with as many passengers as possible. They fiercely compete for routes and passengers which end up in turf wars which errupt in shooting wars! So add Taxis and Taxi violence to the mix and it is not surprissing that Joe public looses his or her cool resulting in road rage!

Flipping the bird, or giving a V sign could see you assaulted, or worse for, your uncool moment.

Anyhow tommorrow, I will, once again, be braving the traffic to work. Who needs death defyng acts or adrenaline junkie sports when we have our daily commute!


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