Image: Morning walk through Cape Town Waterfront Harbour at sunrise
As I approached my car and saw the dented and scratched doors I let out an unsavoury word [or ten]. Surely this couldn’t be my car? I looked up and down the street. Indeed it was my little blue car. Sometime in the night someone had crashed into my car and driven off without even leaving a note. Both doors on the driver’s side were indented and horribly scratched. The bumper was falling off. I was left with a diminishing bank account and doomed to the inconvenience of public transport for the next 3 weeks while my car was due for repairs.
Now the middle-class suburbia where I grew up didn’t have much public transport available, and that which was available was not necessarily a very safe option to use. In fact, the very few times in my life I had used public transport was when traveling abroad in Europe or Hong Kong where trains and trams were easily accessible. Recently having relocated back to Cape Town I was pleasantly surprised at the newly implemented public transport system in the city, however, I had my own transport which was a whole lot more convenient and time-saving. Let’s face it, standing in the rain waiting for a bus is not quite my idea of fun, but millions of people out there do it, so I guess it was time to give my comfort zone a break and bus around for a few weeks.
Here are 4 reasons you definitely should give public transport a go in your own city, even if you have your own transport.
- Feel Like a Tourist – Enjoy The Scenery
Some mornings I had to walk through the harbour to get to the bus stop. Watching the sun rise over the water was magnificent. The bus route home was along the ocean and I could simply stare out the window at the glorious waves instead of missing the scenery because I was trying to avoid maniac drivers on the road. I noticed buildings and stores I’d never noticed before. I really felt like a tourist in my own city exploring and seeing new things each day even though I had driven past them 100 times before.
- It’s Cheap
Depending on the type of transport you choose you can get around fairly cheaply. It may not be quite as convenient but taking the MyCiti bus in Cape Town was definitely a way more cost effective option than taking a metered taxi or Uber.
- No Road Rage
Cape Town has its traffic issues as all cities do. With heavy traffic comes impatience and mild to severe cases of road rage. The calmest, most passive of human beings turn into roaring dinosaurs in this type of traffic, not to mention the way Capetonians drive. It really is a gift. However, if you take the bus this is not your problem. You can sit obliviously and stare at the ocean without even having guessed that 10 cars almost crashed into you on the 5-kilometer route between your stops. Pure bliss.
- No Parking Tickets or Parking Hassles
I’m just going to put it out there – I don’t have a great record when it comes to parking fines. I like to justify this by the fact that I am only newly a resident of Cape Town and not quite so savvy when it comes to dodging these pesky little pink notes that I constantly find stuck to my car window. I also sometimes have to drive around the block once or twice to find a suitable (legal) parking spot. Well, gone are the hassles of pesky pink tickets and finding a space to maneuver my little car into. Not having a car means no tickets and no parking fees.
However, not having a car also means waiting in the rain, walking in the rain to get to the bus stop and not always having transport immediately available. It is a little time consuming to get around. You can also only go where the bus goes, so should you require to be somewhere off the regular route it may take a little more planning and could become an expensive and time-consuming journey. You also need to be aware and remain safe.
I will probably use a little more public transport in the future now that I’m wiser as to the system. But I am happy to have my four wheels back, fixed without bumps and bruises easing me back into my comfort zone of convenient transportation…and a little road rage…but I’m working on that.
#travel #tourist #capetown #myciti