The joys of Jo'burg: Big trains, smaller penis ads

"I often close my eyes in Metrorail’s first-class carriage, imagining I’m travelling from Sandton to OR Tambo while seated on a fully upholstered seat in air-conditioned comfort." (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

"I often close my eyes in Metrorail’s first-class carriage, imagining I’m travelling from Sandton to OR Tambo while seated on a fully upholstered seat in air-conditioned comfort." (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

THE FIFTH COLUMN

As much as I appreciate a guy like Dr Happy going to the lengths he did to advertise his service in Metrorail’s coaches, I’m simply not in a position to get any work done at the moment.

Penis enlargement, in my view, is a major life decision. There are costs involved, I imagine, and it no doubt involves a painfully invasive procedure, especially at the hands of someone like Dr Happy.

Commuting in Cape Town involves a fair amount of running of late, so I will opt out of Dr Happy’s procedure for now.

With most notice boards down, catching a train in Slaapstad these days require a sixth sense to help you gauge the intentions of a herd of commuters as they sniff out the right train departing from the wrong platform. Once a course is set, the herd sets off, leaving little time to grab crutches and crotch in a frantic effort to follow them.

The Democratic Alliance, finely tuned into the plight of Capetonians, announced a “smart ticket” system at their manifesto launch that will allegedly give the city’s migratory herd a simpler way to get home.

“We will make public transport easier by introducing a single ‘smart ticket’ system so that commuters use just one ticket, be it for buses or taxis,” Mmusi Maimane proclaimed.

Maimane also said: “Everyone knows that Metrorail needs the DA to make it work properly”, which doesn’t really make sense because everyone knows that Metrorail isn’t working properly with the DA running things as it is.

But the “smart ticket” idea sounds very clever.

I find it a little disconcerting, however, that Maimane left trains off that list. Also of concern is that taxis – at least the ones we have down here in the Cape – don’t require tickets.

The minibus taxi, as is common knowledge, operates in a sort of transport utopia where traffic rules don’t apply and tickets – parking or otherwise – are unheard of.

All of which means that the DA’s “smart ticket”, should it manifest itself in Cape Town, will only get you on a Golden Arrow bus, a MyCiti bus or the City Sightseeing bus that, regrettably, services the slightly redundant commute between the Waterfront and the cable car.

Maybe I misunderstood. Maybe the “smart ticket” is meant for Jo’burg where people appear to be way smarter, especially as far as public transport is concerned. I mean, the Gautrain is an absolute triumph.

I often close my eyes in Metrorail’s first-class carriage, imagining I’m travelling from Sandton to OR Tambo while seated on a fully upholstered seat in air-conditioned comfort.

Then I open my eyes to see Dr Happy’s phone number has an extra digit on the end and I’m railroaded back to reality.

Other times I dream of the day politicians make good on their promises like delivering Change That Moves South Africa Forward Again – the “again” in that promise, I assume, implying we’re at a complete standstill, which, at Cape Town station we most definitely are.

 
JS Smit

JS Smit

JS Smit is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Formally trained as a copywriter, he took a break from ads in 2010 to write a blog for the Mail & Guardian's Thought Leader and since 2015 has written for the Mail & Guardian. Read more from JS Smit

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