As you'd expect in a big city, Cape Town has pretty efficient public transport. You can use the Metrorail Western Cape, the minibus taxis, or taxis to get around. And as long as you have the City Pass Cape Town, you won't have to worry about getting to your next destination in no time. Don't underestimate just how big of a city Cape Town really is! With so many districts out there, you'd sooner get lost before you know it. That's why knowing about the public transport here is important. Even before you step foot in the city, you should already have a good grasp of the systems so that taking them will be easy peasy.
Firstly, if you're a tourist visiting Cape Town, you'll want to get a City Pass. This is your ticket to get into some of the best attractions in the city, be they museums and historical monuments or even nature trails or wine tours. And in terms of public transport, this pass allows you to get around the city for free. There are selected public transport systems that specifically cater to tourists. Just find what they are, present your City Pass, and you get to ride without paying a single cent. Sounds like a great deal, doesn't it?
The Metrorail Western Cape
Every major city has its own transit system and Cape Town is no exception. But the Metrorail Western Cape is no New York Subway
. The former is actually pretty organized, even despite the fact that it also travels well beyond the city. As its name says, this train covers most of the Western Cape region, stopping at a whopping 122 stations. But don't worry! There are a few routes that only cover the different neighborhoods of Cape Town. There are 16 in total: Brackenfell, Claremont, Diep River, Eerste River, Fish Hoek, Heathfield, Kenilworth, Kraaifontein, Kuils River, Lansdowne, Monte Vista, Muizenberg, Oosterzee, Ottery, Plumstead, and Retreat.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ CC-BY-SA-2.5/ Dewet
Riding The Bus
Here in Cape Town, the bus system is called the Golden Arrow Bus Services
(GABS). These are public buses that cater to around 48.5 million commuters every year. You can find its stations scattered all throughout the city, be they the more urban areas or the rural parts of Cape Town. And to make paying for your rides easier, you can get 10-ride clip cards that you can pay for at one stop. Then for the next ten ride you take, you just clip off one at every stop. Sounds easy peasy, right?
If you prefer a faster bus that only travels within the metropolitan area of Cape Town, your best bet is to take the MyCiTi Buses. These are rapid private buses that take you to the central and most popular parts of the city. They're air-conditioned, are pretty spacious, and have set routes. If you only need to go to a certain destination, you ought to choose a MyCiTi bus instead. But before you can do that, make sure to get myconnect card first. This is your only ticket to riding these private buses and you can get them at any MyCiTi kiosk.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Bl1zz4rd-editor
Taking a Taxi
As in any other city, from Paris to New York
, Cape Town also offers taxi services throughout its different districts. These are metered vehicles, which means you're already paying for the service the moment the ride starts. You'll find many taxis in the busiest, central parts of Cape Town. Or if you're lucky, you might just pass by one without a passenger. Do note that, unlike all the other systems, taxi drivers only accept cash. So make sure to have some extra change on you when you want to ride a taxi. If you don't have any, then you're better off using a transportation app to hail one.
The Minibus Taxis
What if you're in a big group of people and you want to take a taxi? You probably don't want to ride the bus because you don't want other people (i.e. co-passengers) interfering with your commute, right? If that's the case, then you should hail a minibus taxi instead! These are bigger vehicles that can fit many people at a time. Unlike buses, they don't work on strict timetables and have no set routes. You can hail one off the street if you see an unoccupied one passing by. Also, just like taxis, they only accept cash as payment.
Using a Transportation App
And finally, when all else fails, just use a transportation app! It's a good thing that many well-known programs operate here. There's Uber and Bolt, for one thing. They provide excellent transportation service at a top of your phone. Zebra Cabs
, on the other hand, comes from a local company that employs local drivers. Though they have yet to reach Uber's level, they do allow different modes of payment. You can either pay using your credit, via your debit card or with cash. This feature alone makes Zebra Cabs more popular among locals than all the others.
Getting around Cape Town is actually easier than you think! All you have to do is to learn more about the city's public transport systems and see which ones you can use to get to where you need to be.