I take the Gautrain to work in Sandton every day. Every morning Eloise, my wife, drops me off at Hatfield station and I try my best to avoid all human contact until I get into the office. Every now and again I need to take an uber from the station to get home and I am infuriated with the lack of balls from the gang at the Gautrain.
A few months ago I was waiting for Eloise to pick me up in the afternoon when a young gentleman grabbed my phone out of my hands and, with the cat-like reflexes of Robin Hood, jumped into a moving car to redistribute my Samsung phone to the poor (a story I am sticking to). I am not the first and won’t be the last, but it’s not the point of my story. I am merely setting the scene for the current climate of the area surrounding the Gautrain station in Hatfield. This happened while waiting for my wife, on the road where the station is situated.
Currently, if you order an uber while at the station the app advises you to walk a block away to where the metered taxi drivers are happy with. This means that I have to walk down the road, probably with my phone in my hand checking on the progress of my (possibly weary) driver and there is a high probability of me having to call the driver. This means that I am an easy target for the Robin Hood-like behaviour that I described earlier. All the while metered taxi drivers are parked on the pavement outside of the station like tailgaters at a big game. They dictate the comings and goings of the foot traffic coming out of the doors of the train.
When you ask the Gautrain help points (social media and email) about what they are doing about rider safety you get the blanket approach of “well nothing, but we are talking to everyone involved.” To rub salt in the wounds, police are constantly patrolling the area around the station.
Here is where I get to my intended outcome of the rant…. I’d like to see the Gautrain take a stance against metered taxis in the area. Intimidation of others in free trade is illegal, so competition of uber drivers have no right to say anything. I will never take a metered taxi, this is a fact, so I’m not sure what lurking around the station hoping for business will accomplish. Possibly the outcome will match that of Vladimir and Estragon in their quest of waiting for Godot.