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Using the Gautrain vs Driving – which is cheaper?

Two case studies – see what comes out tops.

After the recent drop in the petrol price and with further decreases expected, commutors may ask themselves how using the Gautrain compares with the costs of self-driving.

Spokesperson Barbara Jensen said Gautrain tariffs are based on the financial model of the project, which is based on the cost to the operator Bombela, to run the system. Gautrain tariffs will therefore not be reconsidered in the light of the declining petrol price.

Moneyweb did the calculations on two scenarios and here are the findings:

Scenario 1:

Steve (not the FNB guy) lives in Pretoria and works 42km away in Kempton Park. He works weekdays and two Saturdays per month and his working hours are from 7:00 in the morning to 16:30 in the afternoon. On Saturdays he works only half-day.

He drives a 2012 Nissan Levina which runs according to the AA calculator at R2.44 per km.

Kilometre by kilometre the cost of using the Gautrain is much lower at around R1 per kilometer, according to Gautrain spokesperson Errol Braithwaite.

There are however other factors to take into account.

Steve has to get to the station in the morning and leaves home before the Gautrain busses start running. He therefore has to drive his car the 3km to the station and park there at a cost of R18 per day. That adds R14.64 for the 6km travelled per day plus the R18 parking to the cost of his monthly ticket of R2170.00.

On arrival at Rhodesfield Steve has to take a Gautrain bus at R6 per day to reach his place of work.

The added complication is that the Gautrain busses don’t run on Saturdays. He therefore opts to use his car on those days.

He also has to change trains at Marlboro, which may add some time to the journey.

Steve’s monthly costs are therefore:

Monthly Gautrain ticket

R2170.00

Home to station R14.64 x 20

R292.80

Parking R18 x 20

R360.00

Bus R6 x 20

R120.00

Using his car twice R2.44 x 84km x two days

R409.92

TOTAL:

R3352.72

Steve has a few things to bear in mind if he decides to use the Gautrain.

He has to catch the 05:26 train to be in time for work, considering not only the train journey, but also last few kilometres by bus. If he misses this one, the next train only departs about 20 minutes later since the 12-minute intervals over peak time only start later.

In the afternoon the trains are sometimes full at Marlboro and Steve may only find room on the third train that passes. On the days that he is lucky to get onto the first train, he can be home in Pretoria by 17:30. If not, he may only arrive at 18:10.

Steve does not pay for parking at work. If he uses his car every day, he therefore only has to take into account his travelling cost per kilometre and e-tolls.

His costs would be:

Cost per km R2.44 x 82km x 22days

R4 401.00

eTolls Frequent user (etag) discount

R450.00

TOTAL:

R4851.00

Steve has to decide whether the hour or so that traveling on the Gautrain will add to his working day is worth the extra R1 498.28 per month out of his pocket. Even if he decides not to pay e-tolls the difference will still be a hefty R1 048.28.08.

Of course Steve would be best advised to either find a new job close to home or to move to Kempton Park to be closer to his place of work.

Scenario 2:

If Steve was working in the Johannesburg CBD he would be travelling to Park station. He would not have to change trains, which may deal with some of the delays on the train trip.

The traffic on the N1 is however, generally speaking, more congested and a trip by car may take up to two hours.

Using the Gautrain his costs would be:

Monthly Gautrain ticket

R2320.00

Home to station R14.64 x 20

R292.80

Parking R18 x 20

R360.00

Bus R6 x 20

R120.00

Using his car twice R2.44 x 136km x two days

R663.68

TOTAL:

R3756,48

If Steve decides to use his car every day his costs would be:

Cost per km R2.44 x 136km x 22days

R7300.00

eTolls Frequent user (etag) discount

R450.00

TOTAL:

R7750.00

The difference between using his own car and the Gautrain is bigger on this route, because the route is longer. It amounts to R3 993.52. Even if Steve opts not to pay his e-tolls it would still be R3 543.52 per month.

This is reinforced by the congestion on the N1 route between Johannesburg and Pretoria that may cause serious delays when travelling by car.

While it may not be an option for people who have to leave the office to attend meetings during the day, the case for using the Gautrain is strong for workers who are office-bound.

Steve will of course make a serious mistake if he merely takes into account his petrol costs and not the total running cost of his vehicle. Petrol costs alone may amount to R100 to R150 per day or R2 200 – R3 300 per month, which may create the false impression that it compares favourably with the cost of travelling by Gautrain.

Source: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-economic-trends/using-the-gautrain-vs-driving–which-is-cheaper