“I walk from Alexandra to Sandton each working day. It takes me a little more than one hour to walk one way. I walk because the minibus taxi is too expensive, they charge 7,50 to 10 Rand from Alex to Sandton. No bus is going to Alexandra, only the minibus taxi.
I am working the night shift from Monday to Friday. My work starts at 4.30 in the afternoon, so I leave home at 3 to 3.30 pm. I work until 2 am in the night and then I walk home to Alexandra. Normally I walk alone, but sometimes I can walk together with two or three friends, that is much better.
I have heard about the festival, but I don’t know what it is about. Someone told me that the city government will build a new bridge over the highway. I hope that it will be built soon, it would make walking for me much easier.”
Martin, works as cleaner at an insurance company in Sandton
But we feel that Sandton is there because of us. We carry all the people, we pick them up at 3 in the morning and bring them home at 11 in the night. But we don’t get much support from the government and things have become more difficult for us. Since they closed the taxi rank, we need to stand further away from the CBD. Now our people need to walk down here, with the heavy bags, in the sun and the rain. It is inconvenient for them.
For the EcoMobility Month we fear that there will be less customers, because we heard that the government is deploying more buses and trains. But when less people use the car to commute, I hope that we will also benefit. We will see it from Monday on.”
Thulane, minibus taxi driver between Randburg, Sandton and Alexandra
“Even though I live on Grayston Drive, which is very close to Sandton CBD, I commute by car. The festival is a little inconvenient for me. I have to take a detour because they narrowed some streets for new cycle paths. But for now, the cycle path is not of much use, because there are not many people cycling here.
The intention of the Festival is good, but it is not the right time yet. Before you roll out such a plan, the city’s character needs to be analyzed. People first need to have confidence about their safety. When I have fear and don’t feel save, I don’t walk. So right now I don’t plan to change anything about the way I commute, because only in the car I feel safe.
Actually I would walk and use public transit. When I lived in London, I used to ride public transport and walk all the time, also with my laptop. Anywhere you can do this, in London, Paris, New York. But here in Johannesburg, you cannot do this. The city needs to declare that they will put more security and police patrol on the streets.”
Rhidima, works at a merchandise company in Sandton
All photos (c) Tobias Kuttler.