Transport in Cape Town, South Africa

Transport from the Airport
Cape Town International Airport is located on the Cape Flats 25km east of the city centre. Its half an hours drive away from the city centre, longer during rush hour (7–9am & 4–5.30pm). The Intercape shuttle bus runs between the airport and Cape Town station, in the centre of town, costs around R30 each way and operates until the last flight in the evening. (Tel.3864414 at the airport or 4198888 in Cape Town) The Intercape desk is located in the domestic terminal. This is the cheapest option as there are no trains from the airport.

Theres also the more expensive airport express bus, which will take you, by prior arrangement, to any destination in the peninsula. Metered taxis cost about three times as much as the shuttle bus.

Public Transport
The city centre is compact enough for you to get around by foot. However for further afield you will need to use the public transport. Within the central area and the inner city suburbs as far as Sea Point, buses are the most convenient way of getting around. All the principal terminuses are around Adderley Street and the Golden Acre Shopping Centre. The driver sells tickets on buses. If youre using them frequently, a Ten-Ride Clip Card will save you money. For timetables, enquire at the Golden Arrow booth at the Grande Parade central bus terminal (tel.9340540) or at Captour in Adderley Street.

Its recommended to take a train to the suburbs. Cape Towns train service (info.4052991) is an efficient urban line, which runs through the southern suburbs from the city to Simons Town. The main railway station is Adderley Street. Trains run overground, and there are no signposts on the streets, so youll have to look at a map or ask around to find the stations. Tickets must be bought in advance at the station. The best option is a reasonably priced first-class ticket as no second class exists and third class is not recommended.

Trains leave every ten minutes at peak times for the southern suburbs as far as Retreat, and every twenty minutes as far as Fish Hoek. At other times there are one to two trains per hour, until the last one at 10.30pm. All the way to Simons Town there are one or two trains every hour, the last one leaving at 9.30pm. The other three lines run from Cape Town to Strand (through the Cape Flats) and to the outlying towns of Stellenbosch and Wellington. Because they run through the Flats, some sections of these are not as safe as the Simons Town train.

Trains tend to run closely to the published timetable, which can be bought from newsagents or stations.

If you are staying several days it may be worth buying a Cape Town Card, which entitles foreign visitors to unlimited travel on all Golden Arrow buses and Metro Rail trains in the Peninsula. The pass is available from the Cape Card Information Desk, top floor of the Tourism Gateway, 3 Adderley St, and costs R35 for a four-day card and R55 for a seven-day one.

Taking public transport after dark is not recommended. Instead you should use metered taxis at night. However, if you are forced to use public transport take sensible precautions, such as travelling in a group and avoiding third-class carriages on trains.

In Cape Town taxis range from metered, minibus or Rikkis (small, open-sided, three-wheel vehicles). You can not hail a metered taxi on the street. You can get one at the taxi ranks around town, or you can phone to be picked up. There are a number of reliable companies, including Unicab (448 1720), Marine Taxi Hire (4340434) and Sea Point Taxis (434 4444). Taxis must have the drivers name and identification clearly on display and the meter clearly visible. At around R5 a kilometre, taxis are expensive compared to other modes of transport but are the safest form at night. Minibus taxis are cheap (under R2), frequent and can be hailed from the street or boarded at a rank. However they can be dangerous due to faction fighting amongst companies. Rikkis are safer, more friendly versions of the minibus. They can be hailed or phoned (7am–6pm; 234888 or 234892). However they don't go into the suburbs. Fares are low (R5-15) as passengers are picked up and dropped off along the way.

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