Ever since Prasa announced that their long-distance trains would be back to working order this December, many commended the passenger rail agency for making long distance travel more affordable.
Via its various social media accounts, Prasa said Shosholoza Meyl will resume its Joburg to Durban and Cape Town route from December 6 - just in time for the festive season.
There will also be a private car transportation service at an additional cost for passengers travelling to Durban.
“This service is also open to the public, providing a convenient option for those who wish to transport their vehicles," Prasa said in a statement.
KeDezember and PRASA is pleased to announce that you can now travel from JHB to Cape Town or Durban at less than a R1000 for a single trip. If you are travelling to Durban, bring your car along at an additional affordable fee!#Ziyabuya#SummerTravels pic.twitter.com/TWVk4UcwOm— PRASA Group (@PRASA_Group) December 1, 2023
With one-way tickets starting from as little as R360, it’s an attractive offer and beats taking a plane or vehicle when working with a budget.
Soon after the announcement, Prasa’s social media accounts were inundated with queries and criticism, albeit with a humorous tone.
What many wanted to know is why spend money on a train trip that will take you more than 30 hours, when you could add a few more hundred rands and jump on a plane?
Suffice to say, things got a bit heated when @Prasa_Group responded to a fellow X user who told the railway agency not to compare themselves to luxury train-hotel Rovos Rail which operates throughout southern African, including Namibia and Tanzania.
“Imagine charging the working class R28K to get to Cape Town! We are no where near to what Rovos Rail is,” said Prasa, before adding: “We know who our target market is and our services are almost fully booked for December.”
Imagine charging the working class R28K to get to Cape Town! We are no where near to what Rovos Rail is. We know who our target market is and our services are almost fully booked for December— PRASA Group (@PRASA_Group) December 2, 2023
Thankfully, things ended amicably, with the X user saying: “Do not think I intended in any way to insult you or your service. It was merely a observation."