Public transport Joburg: present options

Getting around Joburg: what are the present options? 
Minibus taxis

Introduced throughout South Africa in 1977, these 15-seater minibuses grew into a massive virtually unregulated industry. As their name suggests, they are more akin to small buses than to traditional taxis or cabs which either roam or are called to a destination (see metered taxis below).  Because of the low entry level requirements and the peak hour demands, there is fierce competition, with many taxi drivers notorious for ignoring the road rules, driving unsafe vehicles and overloading with too many passengers. They operate without formal stops and timetables, with taxi routes mushrooming on ‘grass roots’ demand.   Various signs are used to indicate a commuter’s destination: forefinger pointed in the air for central town, finger pointed down for a local trip, amongst others. Divided into various Associations (183 in Gauteng alone) there is fierce competition between both the Associations as well as the fleet owners, often resulting in violent clashes.     
In 2000, Government introduced a four-year taxi re-capitalisation programme in its attempt to formalise the industry and to take unsafe vehicles off the road and replace them with 18- and 35- seater minibuses. However this programme has not fully materialized and has added fuel to the fire of mistrust and tension between the taxi Associations and the Government, much of it centred on ownership-participation in the new Bus Rapid Transport System (See below)
Metered taxis
Calls are made to these drivers and cabs who collect from the given address. There are various companies such as Roses, Safe Cab, Corporate Cabs.  The fares are quite hefty with for example a trip from O.R. Tambo International to Liz at Lancaster priced anywhere between R350 and R450 and more local trips starting around R70.
Metro Rail
Johannesburg’s metro railway system, like the minibus taxi system, is used almost solely by local commuters.  It connects central Johannesburg to Soweto, Pretoria, and most of the satellite towns along the Witwatersrand. There are planned station upgrades at Nasrec, Mabopane and Doornfontein stations. However, the railway infrastructure was built prior to the mid 20th Century and covers only the older areas in the city’s south. There is currently no rail system to the northern areas, including the business districts of Sandton, Midrand, Randburg, and Rosebank.
Metro Buses
Although the City is trying to regenerate the bus service, according to the City’s own website www.joburg.org.za:  ‘ for the average tourist planning simply to get from A to B, it may be a little while yet before the bus service provides a solution’.  The company Metrobus is wholly owned by the City of Johannesburg and has a fleet of approximately 550 single and double-decker buses, which cover about 84 different routes in the city.  The City’s main bus terminus is situated in the CBD at Gandhi Square, where there is an information kiosk regarding the Metrobus service.  Presumably the BRT (See below) will gradually supercede this service. So watch this space.
PUTCO Buses
Putco (Public Utility Transport Corporation) was formed as a public bus transport company in 1945 and for many years was the major transporter of commuters (along with rail) on the Rand. However the mini bus taxi industry impacted severely on PUTCO which transported 353 million passengers in 1983, 120 million in 1991  and 82 million in 1994.  The company delisted in 2005 in order to allow for a Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scheme, empowering its more than 3300 employees. It remains largely a service used by commuters from Soweto to Johannesburg Central.
Private bus companies
In addition there are a number of private bus operators, such as Greyhound or Intercity, which focus on the inter-city routes, or on bus charters for touring groups.

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15 Comments

  1. Williams
    Posted August 4, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    all i’m looking for is what bus takes me from William Nicol/Bryanston Drive to Blairgowrie.
    Option: Bram Fischer (opp. M-Net)
    Jan Smuts Road (Conrad Drive – Timber City)

  2. Posted August 22, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Thomas Hi Sorry took so long to post reply. Check this link for bus routes and timetables. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jhblive.com%2Flive%2Fkultcha_view.jsp%3Fkultcha_id%3D46843&h=7bb79 Good luck

  3. Cathleen
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    Does anyone know of a taxi that goes from Randburg taxi rank to conrad drive in Blairgowrie, or a bus that does a similair route. Either from Jan Smuts up Conrad, or from Braam Fisher down Conrad/Will Scarlett.
    Thanks

  4. Dinah Sithole
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Looking for a bus from soweto via empire road to Alexandra and times and bus numbers

  5. anita norman
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I am looking for the timetable for PUTCO bus route from Melville Auckland Park to Woodmead, Sandton – URGENT PLZ

  6. virosa
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    can you please assist wanting to know if there is a putco buss to an from midrand weekly
    thank you

  7. Posted February 25, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t know about Putco buses; Suggest try and phone them for routes and timetable. Also look at http://www.gautengtransport.com. Plus look at the Gautrain Website for feeder buses to Midrand station and then from nearest Joburg station.

  8. thulani nkosi
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I wnt a bus frm monday to frday,frm soweto (meadolands) or johannesburg to pretoria or mamelodi(west),thnx I wll really appreciate yr help.it myt be putco or metrobus

  9. Alicia
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I would like to find out if the is buses from Midrand to Randburg square

  10. sbonelo mbhokane
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there a bus that goes to bryanston 4rm spruitview? If it is available can I get informatin about the time table

  11. matthews
    Posted March 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    is there any possibility for metro bus to consider the possibility of establishing the bus route from krugersdorp to pretoria. there is no public transport for krugersdorp to pretoria and pretoria to krugersdorp as the total number of people working in pretoria has increased.

  12. Sibongile
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Can you please assist me, I’m looking for a bus from Soweto to braamfontein

  13. Posted June 14, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Sorry -i don’t have information abour bus routes and bus schedules.

  14. Mpho
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m in soweto looking for transport from Soweto, or johannesburg Cbd to Isando

  15. Posted October 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mpho Sorry but can’t advise on detailed transport, You could try calling Metro Bus call centre 0860 562 874. But being a municipal organization I doubt you will get much joy. Like most things run by the City service levels are declining. Sad

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