By 2037, motorists travelling between Johannesburg and Pretoria should prepare themselves for a six-hour trip.
That is reportedly how long this trip will take should phase two of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) not be implemented, according to Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), the company responsible for collecting tolls on behalf of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).
But why are we not investing in other options to ease traffic congestion, in particular high occupancy vehicle lanes?
Increasing traffic and road congestion is a growing problem in South Africa, and especially Gauteng. There are just under five million licensed vehicles on the roads in the province, which has an estimated population of about 14 million people. The number of vehicles in the province is growing at a rate of 0.2% per month.
Should ETC's reported projections be correct, Gauteng motorists should either hope that Google's driverless cars are ready by 2037, so that they can sit back and relax on their daily commute between the two cities, or seriously start considering using public transport.
Currently, there are only two effective, reliable and (relatively) safe ways to travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The first is by car, and the other is the Gautrain.
In a country where 70% of commuters make use of minibus taxis for their daily commute, we have to ask why we are not investing more time, resources and energy into promoting public transport and, in this case, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
The minibus taxi industry has proven to be by far the cheapest and most efficient way to transport commuters in SA. Should we invest in this model, and take it seriously (by perhaps regulating it and changing perceptions) we could improve it even more.