The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) recently announced that it had resumed its long-distance train services - with prices that most South Africans can afford.
After a three year hiatus largely due to rampant theft, vandalism of train infrastructure, operational issues, and the Covid-19 pandemic's impact, Prasa announced on Friday that its long-distance routes from Joburg to Durban and from Joburg to Cape Town will resume.
According to Prasa, passengers travelling from Joburg’s Park Station to Cape Town Station resuming on December 6 will pay:
Economy Class (Sitter) R430
Tourist Class (Sleeper) R690
Meanwhile, passengers travelling from Joburg’s Park Station to Durban Station resuming on December 8 will pay:
Economy Class (Sitter) R170
Tourist Class (Sleeper) R360
While the cost of the travel had many South Africans on social media excited, there is a catch.
Prasa says the travel time from Joburg to Cape Town is 30 to 34 hours and from Joburg to Durban, 18 hours.
“Bring your books, Board Games and enjoy the ride. Historic towns along the route make for added enjoyment. If it’s not an experience you’re looking for, there are other alternatives to get home quicker,” Prasa said.
While the feedback on social media was largely positive, many were unimpressed with the travelling time.
“I'm sorry 18 whole hours to DURBAN?? NO WAYS” said X user Georgie Beanie Tunji.
“Hopefully there's food on board and MOST IMPORTANTLY, security on board,” Another X user said.
And what about load shedding?
Prasa says this should not be a problem, as the trains are diesel locomotives.
Prasa, however, was at pains to highlight the affordability and unique experience of rail travel, offering a chance to escape the frustrations of traffic and high travel costs. This approach is not just about reaching a destination, but also about crafting unforgettable journeys for families and friends, the rail agency emphasised.