It's a source of great pride – a public transport service that is efficient, clean, reliable, well-run, well-maintained and fast. The shiny-gold Gautrain (pronounced ‘how-train’, sort of) links the Johannesburg City Centre (Park Station) with the main business districts of the north (Sandton and Rosebank) and beyond to Pretoria and east to O.R. Tambo International Airport.
To use the train, buy a Swift card at any station and top it up with money at the kiosk or vending machine inside the station. Alternatively, you can also use your contactless bank card to pay for your trip.
Joburg's Gautrain stations are located at Park Station (next to Braamfontein), Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro (close to Alexandra township), Midrand, Rhodesfield and O.R. Tambo International Airport. In Pretoria, there are three stations: Centurion, Pretoria and Hatfield. Widely considered the fastest and the most reliable public transport system in Joburg, trains run daily from around 05:00 – 21:30 at intervals of 12 – 30 minutes. The full schedule is available online or via the Gautrain app. Short local trips (such as Rosebank to Sandton) cost as little as R27 depending on the time of day. All Gautrain stations, trains and midi-buses are designed to provide ease of access, with provisions for mobility, sight and hearing-impaired passengers.
Always on schedule, we think the Gautrain is the easiest way to get to the airport. Board the train at Rosebank for a four-minute ride to Sandton, where you'll switch trains to the O.R. Tambo line. The Sandton – OR Tambo leg takes 14 minutes. Give yourself at least an hour to complete the trip, allowing for waiting times between departures.
For more information visit www.gautrain.co.za or contact the customer care team at 0800 428 87246.
There are a number of ways to structure your Gautrain payments, depending on how you'll be using the service. Pay-as-you-go is perfect for occasional travellers; simply load your preferred value onto your Swift card and the correct fee will be automatically deducted when you tag out. The Train Products are ideally suited to commuters travelling daily between the same two Gautrain stations and are payable via Swift cards only. There are four tiers to choose from: the Single Trip Product affords you one train trip between two pre-selected stations, the Return Trip Product is a return train journey between two pre-selected stations, the Weekly Product gets you 10 single train trips between two pre-selected stations, while the Monthly Product includes 44 single train trips between two pre-selected stations. Note that all Train Products are liable to expire, so make sure you read the terms before purchasing. A full breakdown of fares can be found here.
Connected to every Gautrain station is a network of Gautrain midi-buses linking up nearby suburbs. To use the midi-bus you will need a Swift card or a contactless bank card as cash is not accepted on-board. One Swift card or contactless bank card must be used per passenger. There are route maps and timetables at all Gautrain stations and bus stops, as well as online. Midi-buses usually arrive every 20 – 40 minutes depending on the time of day (Mon – Fri only, the midi-bus service does not operate on weekends). Midi-bus trips cost between R4 – R11 for rail users and R18 – R25 for non-rail users. You can track where the next midi-bus is on the Gautrain app or call +27 10 223 1098. Note that every second bus to depart is wheelchair-equipped.
USEFUL GAUTRAIN MIDI-BUS ROUTES
From Park Station: For Constitution Hill take the J1 Parktown midi-bus. For Standard Bank Gallery and the Main Street Mining District take the J2 CBD midi-bus. The first Gautrain midi-bus leaves the station at 06:16 and the last at 20:26.
From Rosebank: Melrose Arch (RB2), Hyde Park (RB4), Killarney (RB5) or Illovo (RB3). The first midi-bus leaves Rosebank at 06:21 and the last at 20:01 (the last midi-bus to Killarney is at 18:59).
From Sandton: For Liliesleaf take the S3 and get off at Rivonia and 11th. The museum is a 15 – 20-minute walk. For Montecasino take the S5.
If you're going to be boarding a train or midi-bus but commute to the station in your own car, you'll enjoy discounted fares on Gautrain parking garages. To qualify, passengers must either tag onto a Gautrain midi-bus within one hour of exiting the station, tag into a station within one hour of tagging onto a Gautrain midi-bus or exit the parking within one hour of using the train. If you're not taking a train or boarding a midi-bus but choose to park at the Gautrain station, you'll be charged standard parking fares. These can really add up if you plan to park at the station for an extended period of time. Parking for rail users for one to 24 hours costs R22, while it's R126 for non-rail users. For 10 days of parking, rail users are charged R324 while non-rail users pay R1,260.
RULES FOR TRAVEL
Note that passengers are not allowed to consume any food or drinks or chew gum at Gautrain stations or on-board the trains themselves. The security staff and pretty strict about this and have been known to dish out hefty spot fines.
Because of ongoing tensions between metered taxi drivers and Uber and Bolt drivers, it's not always possible to make use of these services outside of Gautrain stations. Be mindful that attempting to do so may pose a security risk. If in doubt, it's best to travel to a station within walking distance of your destination but, where this is not possible, either make alternate transport arrangements or walk some distance from the Gautrain station before calling your Uber or Bolt.