Gautrain vs Uber – The cheapest way to beat traffic

Getting around Johannesburg and Pretoria can be difficult, with the growing number of cars on the road and drivers who do not know how to abide by the law causing much traffic.

There are other ways of travelling around the cities, however, and popular options include the Gautrain and Uber.

Both of these services operate across major parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and the Gautrain also has a bus system which charges a negligible amount and can be accessed from each station.

When it comes to price, though, these two platforms can differ drastically.

Pricing comparison

To see how Uber and Gautrain prices compare, we looked at fares between multiple points in Gauteng.

It is important to note that the price of the cheapest UberX ride between two Gautrain stations can be split by up to four riders, while the Gautrain fare is applied on a per-person basis.

Travelling to locations which are not walking distance from the Gautrain stations can also be accomplished by Gautrain users who take a bus to their destination after leaving the train.

Rail users who take the Gautrain bus are charged R2 during off-peak periods and R8 during peak times.

The price of an UberX further depends on the availability of drivers at any given time and is liable to change, especially during surges in demand.

For our comparison, we recorded the projected price of an UberX ride between each destination by using the fare quoted within the Uber app at 10:00 on a Monday morning.

The off-peak, peak, and high-peak rates for Gautrain rides were also compared to provide an overview of the possible price range – depending on time of day.

Gautrain fares are as follows:

  • High-Peak – Weekdays between 06:30 and 07:30 (Southbound only).
  • Peak – Weekdays from 06:00-08:30 and 15:30-18:00, All day on weekends and public holidays.
  • Off-Peak – Weekdays before 06:00, from 08:30-15:30, or after 18:00.

The comparison looking at the price of trips between Gautrain stations is shown below.

Trip Gautrain Off-Peak Gautrain Peak Gautrain High-Peak UberX
Sandton – Hatfield R55 R69 R76 R521
Pretoria – Rosebank R55 R69 R76 R468
Park – Centurion R51 R64 R71 R454
Midrand – Rhodesfield R33 R41 R46 R213
Sandton – Rosebank R22 R27 R30 R127
Marlboro – Sandton R22 R27 R30 R106
Hatfield – OR Tambo R183 R183 R183 R490
Sandton – OR Tambo R158 R158 R158 R315

Uber app

When Uber is worth it

The comparison above shows that the Gautrain is more affordable it if you are travelling alone to an area within walking distance of a train station.

In fact, for many trips – such as those between Johannesburg and Pretoria – it is cheaper for four people to take the Gautrain than to share one UberX, especially during off-peak times.

The same is not true for trips to the airport. If you are travelling with at least one other person to OR Tambo, you should get an Uber instead of taking the Gautrain.

Of course, Uber is also useful for trips to areas outside of the range of the Gautrain system or for shorter rides to local events and social spots.

However, if you are travelling to an area near a Gautrain station, it may be cheaper to take the train or even a Gautrain bus to your destination.

In many situations, Uber can also be used a complementary option to the Gautrain, with riders taking an UberX from the station to their destination.

Now read: Uber faces lawsuit over violent attacks in South Africa

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Gautrain vs Uber – The cheapest way to beat traffic