Today, my son and I went into town. Town, is Johannesburg.Okay, it’s not exactly a big thing, but we went in via public transport and to tell you the truth, we had a ball of a time.
The goal was to get to the Sci-Bono Centre near Mary Fitzgerald Square. I did some internet research before setting off trying to find a bus route from my home in Fairlands to the centre. There is a Metro Bus stop just outside my house and I wanted to catch a bus from there. The JoBurg website has a link to the Metro Bus section, but trying to work out which bus to catch and when and where it would go became a tough task that just didn’t make sense to me.
What I did was drive to my office in Hyde Park. From there we walked to Jan Smuts Ave with the intention of catching a Gautrain bus to Rosebank. The first task was buying a payment card for the Gautrain system. Using the internet again, we found out that there was a shop in Hyde Park Corner that would sell us a new card. The shopping centre was an easy walk from the office so we headed there. We spoke to the owner of the store who would only accept cash for the Gold Card. It had R100 already loaded on the card and we did the exchange. I already had another card bu I didn’t know how much was loaded onto it. The store owner told me that I couldn’t recharge at his store, but could do so at the Gautrain station.
Armed with our two cards we walked the short distance to the bus stop. After about 10 minutes, the Gautrain Bus arrived and we climbed aboard. We both swiped our Gold Cards and the driver told us that there was a special on until the end of January. R1 per trip! That’s right. R1. It doesn’t matter if you take a train or not. What a bargain!
The bus was air-conditioned and very comfortable. Jason and I were the only passengers until a lady joined us who was going into Rosebank to shop. The bus dropped us right outside the Rosebank Gautrain Station.
We followed the simple directions to the pay-point and I reloaded my Gold Card with R100 for the trip into Park Station. We then made our way to the correct platform that was, again, very well sign posted. Due to the fact that we were out of rush-hour, we had a 15 minute wait for our train. The one thing i did notice was that there were no coffee or snacks to buy while we waited. Make sure you get your cup of java before you head into the station.
The train arrived perfectly on time and we headed off to Park Station. There we went up to ground level, walked less than 100 metres to the Rea Vaya bus stop. Due to the fact that Gautrain and Rea Vaya don’t work on the same system, we had to buy a ticket at the bus stop. R4.50 each to travel from Park Station to Mary Fitzgerald Square. Again, there was a timer at the station so that one could see how far away the bus was and how long it would take to get to the stop. Maps of the routes were all over the stop, laid out well, like those in the London Underground. The staff were also amazing in helping us always willing to explain and answer our questions.
We boarded the bus and headed off to the square. It was a bit of a walk from the stop there to the Sci-Bono Centre but at no stage did we feel uncomfortable. Having just come back from New York, I did notice that out pavements are very narrow. Every now and again it was a tough ask to walk around all the stalls, people and shops.