Sunday, February 24, 2013

Traveling Around (Minibus and Taxi)

We have taken full advantage of the various public and private transportation options in Cape Town. Since we are staying with a family in a suburb of Cape Town, our primary way of getting to downtown Cape Town is by walking to the minibus stop down the street from our host family and then traveling by train to the city center.  The minibus costs 6 rand ($0.70) each, even for a trip much longer than ours.

A minibus near our stop on the main street in Retreat 

The minibuses are always an adventure.  There is usually a guy who mans the sliding door of the bus.  Let's call him "The Dude."  The Dude plays multiple roles on the minibus.  He whistles and yells at the pedestrians to encourage them to ride the minibus.  He often spies us as we are walking down the road and asks the driver to wait for us.  A few times we have entertained the entire minibus by running down the street, although there is no way they are going to pass up our fare by leaving us behind.

The Dude also directs you where to sit.  This is especially important when they pack up to 20 people into one minibus.  The Dude's other role is that of fare collector.  It is a clear faux pas to hand the money to the driver instead of the money collector.  The money is handed from passenger to passenger on the way to The Dude, and the change back from The Dude also makes its way through the passenger ranks.

A full minibus in Retreat, two blocks from our house

A couple of times we have stopped for gasoline on our short trip to the train station.  It appears that The Dude also decides how much the driver can invest in fuel at any given time.

For security reasons, we are only able to ride the minibus or take the train during daylight hours.  So after 6:30 PM we take private taxis.  We have met some really great taxi drivers.  Our favorite is Ray, who lives only a couple blocks away from our host family. We have met a number of taxi drivers from Zimbabwe, usually referred to as Zim.  While a lot more expensive than the train, taxis are a great way to get around.

No comments:

Post a Comment