03 February, 2011

Why I no longer ride the Gautrain.

I was a avid supporter of the Gautrain. So much so, that I was there at 5H30 on the morning of the 8th of June 2010, to take the very first public ride on the Gautrain to work. I even got 3 or 4 guys I work with to join me that early morning.

I liked riding the Gautrain. So much so, that I wanted to see if it were possible to ride the Gautrain to work and back for 6 months, and not one time use my car.

There were a few times that taking the car in would have been easier, but my determination to make it to 6 months persisted. All the other guys, after 2 months or so, for what-ever reason stopped riding the train.

I made it! On the 8th of December I rode the Gautrain for the 6th straight month, making my "not using the car to work" milestone. This was also the last time I have ridden the Gautrain.

To date I have spent just over R 6,000.00 with Gautrain. But my relationship with Gautrain has not been plain sailing.

Somewhere in the first 3 days of riding the Gautrain, R80.50 was taken from my card which they, Gautrain, did not, could not, and are still not accounting for. I have tried numerous times to contact the help desk, send emails, ask for updates, having them make promises, and having them break promises to me.

This has now left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

A guy I work with had R400.00 taken from his card, and only after 3 months of fighting, emailing, and phoning Gautrain, did he get his money back. Why is this? Is there no "easy" way for Gautrain to resolve the issues logged with helpdesk?

And this was the last straw:
I received an email from Winnie Mposula dated 11 December 2010
Dear Mr. Damhuis

We are looking into your lost card enquiry, we have escalated your complaint to senior management.

Please note you will get response from us before Wednesday.

Winnie Mposula
Customer Service Information Officer
Bombela Operating Company

To date, and it is a mere 2 and a half months later, or 8 "Wednesdays" later, and still no follow up email, nor a phone call from them. Maybe I have it wrong, but I would think she was referring to the first Wednesday after she sent the email....

I thought long and hard about it, should I follow up "yet one more time" or just leave it.... I decided to leave it, but to write a blog entry post to "vent" my anger at Bombela and Gautrain.

I have also sent Mrs Winnie Mposla the link to this blog post. But if history is anything to go on, I'll never hear from her/them.

Also at the beginning of December I got a very good deal on a motorbike. It is a small Bajaj Pulsar 180cc. I have now opted to ride it to work and back each day if it doesn't rain.

So far in the 6 odd weeks, I have been riding her, I have saved just over R1,300.00 on the Gautrain, or paid for 14.2% of the total cost of the motorbike. Each day I ride the bike to work, I save R51.00 on the Gautrain fare, and this comes of the total cost of the bike. (I am keeping a spreadsheet)

The total cost of the bike, includes the cost of the Bike itself, the services, the helmet, jacket, gloves, and all the petrol. This little bike gets almost 35 km per litre.

And I think that my carbon footprint, is less then using the Gautrain as well. But that is perhaps a calculation and blog post for some other time.

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