Getting around in Johannesburg or to your favourite destination can be somewhat challenging because there is no effective public transport system in or around the Johannesburg Metropolitan Area. The bus and rail systems that do exist at present, with the significant exception of the Gautrain and its buses, (see below) are anyhow largely aimed at moving people into work and back. Places of tourist interest are not covered by either of these systems.
This has led to continued investment into the development of a superb road infrastructure, not only in Johannesburg but throughout destinations in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The quality of our roads is contrary to the expectations of many tourists to South Africa, who expect to find dirt roads and "the big five" in the middle of the city.
The Johannesburg Metropolitan Area is criss-crossed by a first class road system - in total there are 10 freeways in the Joburg Metropolitan area, with more being planned for the future. The new roads will be funded mainly though the use of tolling in order to ensure that they are built and maintained according to the highest international standards.
In spite of being up to 12 lanes wide in some areas (6 lanes in either direction), the Johannesburg ring road is frequently clogged with traffic during the rush to (6:30 - 8:00am) and from work (4:00 - 6:00pm), as are the secondary roads criss-crossing the city. The N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria is said to carry vehicle loads of up to 300,000 per day.
The regional road structure is also of an extremely high standard. For example, the road to the Kruger Park is the N4 Freeway (a Toll Road) which runs all the way from Johannesburg to the Malelane and Crocodile Bridge Gates in the southern Kruger Park.
View Freeways in the Region in a larger map
The excellent road system, makes it clear that - together with our world class airports and airlines - this is the tourists best way of getting around the city and on into the country.
There are plenty of car hire companies in South Africa, including the following, who are all present at OR Tambo Airport:
- Avis +27 (0)11 923 3730 www.avis.co.za
- Budget +27 (0)11 390 1924 www.budget.co.za
- Europcar +27 (0)11 574 1000 www.europcar.co.za
- First Car Rental +27 (0)11 230 9999 www.firstcarrental.co.za
- Hertz +27 (0)11 390 2066 www.hertz.co.za
- National Alamo +27 (0)11 394 3580 www.nationalcar.co.za
- Sizwe +27 (0)11 390 2340 www.sizwecarrental.co.za
- Tempest +27 (0)11 394 8626 www.tempestcarhire.co.za
- Thrifty +27 (0)11 230 5201 www.thrifty.co.za
Johannesburg is served by a bus fleet operated by Metrobus,a corporate unit of the City of Johannesburg. It has a fleet consisting of approximately 550 single and double-decker buses, which follow over 80 different routes in the city. This total includes 200 modern buses (150 double-deckers and 50 single-deckers). Metrobus fleet carries approximately 20 million passengers per annum.
In addition, there are a number of private bus operators, though most focus on the inter-city routes, or on bus charters, for touring groups. The City's main bus terminus is situated in Gandhi Square, where passengers can also obtain information regarding the Metrobus service from the walk-in customer information desk.
Rea Vaya - Bus rapid transport system
Johannesburg has its own Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, known as Rea Vaya. The BRT, originally put in place for the 2010 World Cup, operates on main roads throughout the city and Soweto, running down designated median lanes.Route details and timetables can be found on the Rea Vaya website.
Whilst most buses servicing Johannesburg are safe and affordable, it is usually recommended that tourists unsure of their surroundings make use of metered taxis, cabs, and shuttles rather than Metrobus.