From Gugs to Rondebosch in 60 minutes
I have used taxis as a means of transport almost my entire life: when I was in primary school, high school, tertiary and now, work. I have no choice; I live in a small place called Montevideo, just outside Gugulethu, buried inside Montana. There's no other transport except taxis. I spend R700 a month on transport to and from work.
I leave the house at 07:50 and begin a twenty-minute walk to the Gugulethu bridge (which leads to NY1 in Gugulethu). When I get to the bridge, I wait for uqokelela, a free taxi that comes from Cape Town, collects people along the way, then takes them to the Eyona taxi rank.
When I get to the rank, I get onto a Mowbray taxi. However, it does not go directly to Mowbray, because it drops off passengers going to Rylands and Athlone first.
It costs R11 to go to Mowbray. When I get to Mowbray, I jump off at the Main Road, and catch a Wynberg taxi, which will then also collect passengers along the way, and stop for long periods of time waiting to fill up the taxi completely. The taxi to Rondebosch costs R6.50. I get off at the Pick ‘n Pay in Rondebosch Main Road, then walk to the office. I get to work at about 09:00, sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes later. So the whole trip, which is only 13km by car, takes over an hour using public transport.
To get people into their taxis, the gaatjie (taxi conductor) says, “Two more people left. We are going now-now.” Then when you get there, the taxi is near empty.
Sphiwo Bam, who travels in the same taxi as I do and works in Claremont, says what really gets to him is the obsession Eyona drivers have with four-four. This means making sure that every seat in the taxi has four passengers.
“This is what makes us late at work. You get to this half dead taxi rank as early as possible, then because all seats have to have four passengers, you find that the taxi will not move because it is one person short. Many people have stopped using this taxi rank because of the slow service and the drivers' 'I don’t care' attitude. I think I am also going to stop coming here and go to the Nyanga taxi rank instead,” Bam said.