One of the biggest obstacles for travellers to overcome when flying out of Johannesburg is getting to the airport.
There are several options available. You could drive yourself if you don’t mind paying a substantial amount for long-term parking while you are away, or you could get a friend or family member to drop you off and pick you up again.
If you are unable to rely on anybody for a lift and don’t want to leave your car at the airport, however, you are left with the options of taking an Uber or the Gautrain.
Gautrain fares to OR Tambo can vary depending on which station you choose to depart from, but they remain constant regardless of peak and off-peak times.
Uber fares are far more variable and are based on numerous factors, including driver activity, rider demand, and traffic.
OR Tambo trip pricing
To determine when it was cheaper to take an Uber over the Gautrain, we compared the tariffs for Gautrain trips quoted on the official website to the cost of a trip quoted in the Uber app at the time of writing.
It is important to note that if you choose to take the Gautrain, you will need to organise transport to the station (bus, walking, etc.) and coordinate your trip to coincide with the train’s schedule.
On the other hand, you can call an UberX from right outside your door and share the trip with up to three other passengers.
Below is the cost of a Gautrain trip from each station in Johannesburg to the OR Tambo airport, compared to the cost of an Uber for the same trip.
Sharing an Uber is the best option
It is apparent from the data above that if you are travelling alone, Gautrain is a much better option than Uber in most cases.
However, this changes drastically if you account for sharing the Uber trip with other passengers.
If you are travelling with just one other passenger, it becomes cheaper across almost all trips to take an Uber than to use the Gautrain, as you can split the fare between two riders.
We calculated the rand cost per km for each trip between OR Tambo and other Gautrain stations based on the data above and added a column to reflect the cost per kilometre when sharing an Uber with one other passenger.
|Departure Point||Gautrain||UberX – 1 passenger||UberX – 2 passengers|
The average cost per kilometre for the Gautrain should be much lower, but it is greatly inflated due to the high fare and short route from Rhodesfield to the airport.
Discounting this trip, the average rand-per-kilometre cost for the Gautrain falls to around R6/km – which is the same as the cost of sharing an Uber with one other person.
The table above provides a clearer picture of when it is cheaper to Uber and when you can save money by taking the Gautrain.
If you live in Johannesburg and are travelling with at least one other person, it is cheaper to take an Uber to the airport.
However, if you stay in Midrand, Centurion, or Pretoria, you may find it more convenient and slightly cheaper to take the Gautrain, as long as there are no more than two of you making the trip.