No Galloping Zone

As of midnight, 7 March 2012, the petrol price went up to a little over R11 per litre. That’s just insane. I remember the days when my dad would go to the station and ask for a mere R20 worth of petrol, and it was more than enough. Living in Pretoria, or should I rather say, Gauteng, where everywhere is far, I can’t go on less than R200 to R250 a week.

One of the things that people outside SA don’t know about is the new E-tolling system that some brilliant people called SANRAL decided to implement after they went through this whole Gauteng Road Improvement Project (GRIP) and found themselves in a hell of a lot of debt. Because they can’t cover their asses, they installed electronic toll roads on all the main highways. These toll roads require every car to be fitted with an E-tag, something like an RFID tag except it uses infrared, so that whenever the car goes underneath the toll bridge, that car would be charged (an ever changing fee per kilometer). Obviously us as motorists are pretty damn angry with this whole idea (which is why there happened to be a nationwide strike about it today, since these geniuses want to implement it throughout the country), because not only did the petrol price increase, but now we have to pay an extra good few hundred Rands per month on tolling. I live 18km from home. It takes me an hour to get to work in the morning because of the traffic. Some people live in Joburg and travel to Pretoria, which is easily 85km for a single trip. I can’t think what their petrol must be costing them every week.

Then there was the brilliant Gautrain idea. Oh, let’s make our country look like a fantastic world class destination. Fair enough, they built everything really well. The trains run like magic. The stations ARE, without a doubt, world class. Then came the Gautrain bus service. Oh, that bus service… everyone forgot that the majority of South Africans don’t like to work. They are given jobs but bite the hand that feeds them. Bus drivers went on several illegal strikes, leaving those who relied on the bus system stranded (since the busses transported Gautrain users from the station to specific points around the station). Why did they strike? They all wanted transport from their homes to work. If only we all had that luxury. Now, going back to what I said above about how far everything is in Gauteng…how does a company organise the transport of a large number of employees, when they come from all corners of the province?

But anyway, I won’t linger on these issues. The point I am making is that for those of us who do work and make an honest living:

  1. Petrol price up so running a vehicle becomes more of a burden
  2. E-tolling is being introduced at the end of April 2012, which is just another dig at our pockets
  3. Gautrain option out because a train is useless without the bus service to cover the other 10km between the station and work

We all pay taxes, its deducted before we even see our salary. But sadly, we pay taxes on everything else we buy too. Now we have to pay extra for E-tolling too.

My point – we’re gonna have to start looking at alternate forms of transport. The most reliable thing that’s always worked? Horses. Imagine every person replacing their car with a horse, all the road signs that would have to be changed, traffic laws etc. Of course it would suck for those people who have to travel for 170km per day, but maybe in those cases, let them keep their cars.

In school areas, signs that say: No Galloping Zone, children crossing.

On highways: Trot left, gallop right

Late for work? No, it wasn’t a flat tyre, the horse’s hoof had to be replaced.

Need to refill? Ultra city  – 5km. Free water available.

Long term effects:

  • Family planning improves – how many children can you possibly (or rather, comfortably) carry with you on your horse?
  • Saving of petrol which leads to decrease in carbon emissions => greener planet
  • Saving of a hell of a lot of money – no car = no maintenance + no insurance + no petrol
  • Reduced traffic on roads, leaving those who have to travel more than 40 odd kilometers a day to continue using their cars, but in peace and without the frustration of dealing with high traffic volumes
  • Reduced stress levels

Yeah, its a weird proposition which will never happen. But looking at the crazy things that are happening in this country, I really have to wonder if my imagination really is far from the truth. Forget horses, we may all just end up working from home. Cos it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting decent (if any) salary increases either, so keeping up with more and more people digging in our pockets is becoming difficult to deal with.

‘Nuff said.

Over and out.

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