Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
4 Mar 2021
3:13 pm

Walking is the most common mode of transport in SA, survey reveals

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

According to the survey, most pupils walked to school because it is close enough to walk and transport, particularly in rural areas, is expensive.

Some 10.7 million people used taxies in 2020. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

About 17.4 million South Africans walked all the way to their destination, followed by 10.7 million individuals who used taxis and 6.2 million who used a car or truck as a driver in 2020.

At the release of the results of the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) in Pretoria on Thursday, Statistics South Africa Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said trains were the mode of travel least used by household members.

Nationally, travelling to an educational institution was the primary purpose of undertaking a trip by household members, with KwaZulu-Natal (49.4%) and Eastern Cape (48.6%) recording the most number of people who travelled for such purposes.

Trips to the usual workplace were the second most common purpose for household members to travel in Western Cape (37.4%), Gauteng (31.1%) and KwaZulu-Natal (28.3%).

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Visiting friends/family/ancestral home (43.2%), shopping (15%) and leisure/holiday (11%) were the main reasons for people to undertake day trips.
Overnight trips were mainly undertaken for visiting friends/family/ancestral home (60.2%), followed by leisure/holiday (15.4%) and to attend funerals (8.5%).
The general usage of public transport as reported by households increased between 2013 and 2020.

Pupils’ travel patterns and modes of transport

According to the survey, most pupils walked to their educational institution because it is close enough to walk. The second-most common reason was expensive transport, mainly in rural areas.

“It is evident from the survey that ‘walking all the way’ remains the mode of travel most used by learners to reach their educational institution in all nine provinces. About 10.1 million learners walked all the way to their educational institution, which is a decrease from the 11 million observed in 2013. Across provinces, the highest percentage of learners who walked to their educational institution were found in KwaZulu-Natal (20.3%) and Gauteng (17.7%), followed by Eastern Cape and Limpopo both at 14.6%,” said Maluleke.

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Workers’ mode of travel

Most workers used private transport (43.5%) as their main mode of travel to work, while 35% used public transport. 20% of workers walked all the way.

While public transport was common across all geographic locations, urban workers were more
likely to use a taxi than a bus as their main mode of transport, rural workers were most likely to use a bus as their main mode of transport.

The estimated total number of workers’ trips using public transport decreased significantly from 5.4 million in 2013 to 4.7 million in 2020.

Taxis accounted for most public transport users with 80,2% of workers using taxis, which is more than the percentage reported in 2013 (67.6%).

The number of South Africans who had travelled during the seven days prior to the survey increased from 42.4 million in 2013 to 45 million in 2020.

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