Photo essay: Rapid urbanisation and public transport in Johannesburg

Gautrain bus service in Johannesburg, South Africa

City bus services

Joburg’s primary and largest bus service is the Metrobus, covering most of the Metropolitan Municipality. Many focus on schools, and they transport around 90,000 passengers every single day, with most of them in operation during the early morning rush hour, from 6am until about 9:30am. But you’ll be lucky to find a Metrobus after 6pm or at the weekend. The operator has defined six zones in the city, and the number of zones crossed determines the fare. There are several different tag cards available: green, for adults that use the bus every day, red tags for school children, yellow for people with disabilities, and black tags for pensioners, who receive a 50% discount on trips.

Passengers board a Metrobus in Johannesburg, South Africa
A congested street in Johannesburg, South Africa
A BRT platform
Passengers wait inside a BRT platform

Rail safety concerns

The Metrorail Gauteng is a network of commuter rail services in the Gauteng province, and has three main hubs: Park Station in Johannesburg, Germiston Station on the East Rand, and Pretoria Station. It’s notoriously dangerous, with theft common. Theft is made even easier due to the Metrorail’s overcrowding, with people packed in like sardines.

Passengers board a minibus taxi
Commuters get ready to pay for their trip in a minibus taxi
A trader sells goods to commuters at a taxi rank
A trader sells goods to commuters at a taxi rank

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Stories about data, mobility, and the Majority World.