40 days a year spent in traffic
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Cape Town - Commuters could spend as much as 40 days a year stuck in traffic. While some spend up to four hours a day travelling to and from work, other residents could lose more than a month of the year just on their daily commute.
To put that in perspective, for many Capetonians, travelling the 30km from home to work takes as long as it would to fly to Johannesburg.
On Wednesday, mayor Patricia de Lille announced a R750 million cash injection to alleviate traffic congestion.
For Heart FM news anchor, Daniel Nene, the average commute is an hour one-way from his home in Mfuleni, to the radio station’s studios in Green Point.
“Sometimes, if not most of the time, I have to sit in an empty taxi and wait for it to be full. If I’m lucky, that could take up between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the type of minibus taxi.
“Then on a good day with less traffic on the N2, mostly around school holidays, it could take me at least 20 minutes to get to the CBD.
“However, if I’m not lucky enough and there’s traffic congestion on the N2, then I must reconcile myself that I will have to spend at least an hour on the road.
“The latter scenario happens quite often and unfortunately there is nothing one can do about it.”
Attorney Jo-Laine Hofmeester travels by train to the CBD from Brackenfell.
She has experienced a bizarre phenomenon.
She told the Cape Argus her train is often late, but on the occasions it isn’t, it arrives at the station – and departs – early, leaving commuters stranded and waiting for the next train.
“Monday, September 28, I jump out of bed and rushed around to get done in time to catch the 6.14am train to Cape Town.
“I arrived a few minutes early, but missed the train due to the train arriving earlier than scheduled.
“I wake up at 5am every day, get home by 6pm, and spend almost two hours travelling to work and back, on a good day.”
Despite the arduous rail commute, Hofmeester feels it is still is the quickest way to get to work.
“The only alternative to our ever-failing Metrorail service is to travel into the CBD using one’s own vehicle, more often than not at the risk of arriving even later than by using public transport.
“Either way, getting to work is a cumbersome and exhausting exercise, which I wish I could avoid altogether, but unfortunately can’t.”
An accountant from Kuils River, Michelene Dyers tries to avoid a two-hour one-way commute into the CBD by working flexible hours.
“I wake up at 5am in order to leave and get to work by 6.30am.
“I do this to avoid sitting in traffic for up to two hours in the morning.
“I leave town by 3.30pm to avoid the same.
“It’s obviously very tiring, and luckily my boss is very understanding and allows me to work during these abnormal hours.
“My job allows for this.”
Another Kuils River resident tries to leave home by 5.50am each day in order to avoid the traffic.
Andrew Tobias, a senior systems engineer, works in the Southern Suburbs.
He told the Cape Argus that the layout of the railway lines doesn’t allow him to travel to his office in Claremont efficiently as he would have to change lines, exposing himself to further possible delays.
“If I leave my place any later than 5.50am, I will not be able to make it to work by 7am which is when my day starts.
“To give you an idea, I overslept a bit yesterday morning and only left my house at 6am.
“I only walked into the office this morning at 7.30am.
“Ten minutes make a massive difference and the bulk of congestion is getting out of my area and on the N1 just before the Tygervalley turn-off.
“I have tried every possible route for the past nine years and my daily commute would not be less than 45 minutes to an hour.
“Add a small accident on the N1 to the mix and my commute could stretch to two hours or beyond,” Tobias said.
Nene echoed the sentiment that any small incident on either of the city’s two major highways could cause massive headaches for commuters.
In some cases, a fender-bender or traffic officer operation could extend the commute by an hour or more.
“On odd occasions I’ve had experiences of taxi operators being pulled over, and in some cases arrested on the spot for either outstanding warrants of arrest or operating unlicensed vehicles.
“This causes further delays because, more often than not, as passengers we have to wait for a roadworthy taxi to come from Mfuleni – which is about 30km outside of Cape Town – and continue with the journey while the unroadworthy taxi is being impounded.”