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  1. The Ultimate Guide to Bus Travel in Africa
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Priority phases for buses on traffic lights were proposed, as well as laws obliging cars to give way to buses pulling out from stops.

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Pretoria too had an impressive bus priority scheme at this time, totalling more than seven km in all. This was some three years old, the more important section operating on Church Street East, as far as Church Square. During the year, under pressure from the City Tramways company, the City Council of Cape Town embarked on a R20 study into the feasibility of buslanes, but concluded that they were not justified.

Twenty more years were to go by before the mother city came at last to its senses. Driessen, however — working in the early seventies — never foresaw the emergence of the minibus-taxi.

The Ultimate Guide to Bus Travel in Africa

Three years earlier, it had become permissible to use combi-type vehicles as taxis, a category previously restricted to sedan motor cars, and the booming market for used Valiants had collapsed. True, the combis were not allowed to carry more than eight at this time, and they were confined — on paper, at any rate — to taxi-type area operations, but the damage was done.

Cruising along bus routes to poach passengers was forbidden, but it did not take long for enterprising minibus drivers to discover how lucrative this practice could be. A minibus is a small bus, not a taxi — a reality immediately appreciated by the operators, who quickly moved into bus-type operation.

The crux of the matter — conceded by nobody — was that minibuses are best suited to the feeder function, not line-haul service on major urban routes.

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Country towns In October , the Cape Tramways group warned that the future of Western Cape country-town bus services was under serious threat: the writing was on the wall. All these routes were in fact withdrawn not many years later, as were many on the East Rand, and at country towns in other provinces. There were still working trolleybuses in South Africa, though only in Johannesburg, where 30 vehicles were running. Some million passengers were being carried altogether annually by the municipal transport department minimum cash fare 35 cents , about half the total moved by Putco.

In , the municipal bus operating deficit in Johannesburg was in the region of Rmillion annually.

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The Durban Transport Management Board was moving some million annually in , but the figure means little in total bus terms as there were many private operators, some running only a handful of vehicles, and a substantial Putco operation. Smoking on buses Apparently anticipating future legislation, Port Elizabeth Tramways over million annual passengers — not that much less than Cape Town banned smoking on the lower deck of double-deckers from November Competition The problems of urban buses are not confined to competition from minibus-taxis and private cars.

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In , an important new suburban railway was opened to the sprawling Mitchells Plain dormitory area in Cape Town. A similar situation was developing north of Pretoria, where the new railway to Soshanguve and Mabopane was taking shape. Putco was the operator facing displacement here, having only recently taken over by contentious government decree the intensive services formerly run by African Bus Service, the flagship United Transport subsidiary. The SAR passenger vehicle establishment totalled at 31 March not including dual-purpose units and there were 79 new buses on order.

The city-centre-to-airport bus services in both Johannesburg and Cape Town saw their first full year of operation under private enterprise in — comprising the very first steps towards privatisation.

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The largest operator of buses in the southern hemisphere, it was carrying more than million passengers annually, fielding a fleet in excess of 2 Fuel costs rose astronomically at this time. The problem was to be exacerbated once the Atlantis Diesel Engine factory, whose construction commenced in , came on stream. Lucky for you, there are several bus companies in the region!

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In terms of frequency of departures, coverage and overall quality, we have handpicked a few that are superior to the masses:. However, most bus providers often offer luxury services , which include extra amenities. Here are a few extra amenities you can expect to find if you book a luxury service in Southern Africa:. As bus travel experts, we at Busbud agree to say you should buy your bus ticket as far in advance as possible, especially during peak times or high season which in Southern Africa runs from November to March , because prices will generally tend to rise as the travel date approaches.

SABOA, Southern African Bus Operators Association, Public Bus Transport

We launched a new feature on Busbud where you can view your past searches and compare them to observe the price trends of the ticket you are looking to book. There are some safety precautions that are valid for any travel around the globe, and that we would suggest you apply when in Southern Africa. Keep an eye on your luggage! Once arrived at your destination, be sure to stand nearby when the driver or company employee opens the baggage hold and starts unloading the bags, as this is the most favorable moment for thieves to snatch baggage.

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Furthermore, you will likely be solicited by locals very enthusiastic to carry your bags in return for a tip. So what are you waiting for? Book your next bus ride through Southern Africa! In fact, you can travel between countries in the region quite easily by bus as the coverage between large cities and parks is extensive Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe Main bus companies Lucky for you, there are several bus companies in the region!

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