Park Station is inner city Johannesburg’s major transport hub – the largest transport node in southern Africa. The site of the station has been an essential nexus point in the city since train tracks were first laid on the Witwatersrand, connecting disparate mining towns along the reef. It has grown with Johannesburg, reflecting political ideologies; ‘modern’ transport trends and new spatial configurations. Today the large Park Station complex blurs into the surrounding city, its edges redefined by street traders, formal retail extensions and movements of crowds. Rea Vaya, Gautrain, regional and international bus services, local and inter-city train services, taxis and pedestrians converge here, stimulating the inner city. Park Station is, and always has been, inner city Johannesburg’s arrival and departure point, the first and last experience of the city for many visitors.
It is estimated that about 1 million people move through the Park Station Precinct every weekday, and millions of Rands change hands each day through small retail transactions and cross-border trade. The Park Station Precinct is busy, congested and noisy. In many ways it is the bustling centre of a thriving but largely unregulated economic network that spans most of the continent.
In recent years the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Province have made big investments in mass public transit infrastructure and services that further support Park Station Precinct’s role as the primary transit hub. The Gautrain connects the inner city with Rosebank, Sandton, Midrand, Pretoria and the airport; Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit connects the inner city with Soweto; and construction is underway to make the Rea Vaya link between the inner city and Alexandra and Sandton. All of these investments are expected to help ease traffic congestion, and unlock new property development opportunities. While the Park Station Precinct is a reception space for people traveling into Johannesburg, there is a need for place making activities to focus attention and attract visitors to the interesting spaces and places around the stations and taxi ranks.
Range of Transport at Park Station
Park Station is the epicentre of people moving locally, nationally, and internationally via train, bus, and minibus taxi. The following details paint a picture of just how far this network spreads, and how the entire world can be seen through the point of Park Station.
Local Train: Metrorail and Gautrain reach local destinations including Carletonville, Randfontein, Soweto, Germiston, Springs, Nigel, Daveyton, Pretoria, Vereeniging, Sandton, Rosebank, Marlboro, Rhodesfield, O.R.Tambo International Airport, Midrand, Centurion, and Hatfield.
National Train: Shosholoza Meyl, Premeir Classe, Rovos Rail, Shongololo, and the Blue Train reach national destinations including Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Hoedspruit, East London, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Komatipoort, Nelspruit, Musina, and Polokwane.
Local Bus: Rea Vaya BRT, Metrobus, and the Gautrain Bus reach nearly all areas in Johannesburg, Soweto, parts of Pretoria, and everywhere in between. You can find an integrated local bus map for the Park Station area at Rea Vaya.
National and International Bus: Intercape, Greyhound, SA Roadlink, TJ Motlogelwa Express, Eagle Liner, Baz Bus, Citiliner, City to City, Translux, and many more in the precinct that do not stop directly at the station reach national and international destinations.
These destinations include all major cities and multiple towns in each province of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, and Mozambique. While no buses from the station go beyond these countries, buses in the surrounding precinct go to nearly all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, or these buses will connect people to another bus where they continue their journey.
Minibus Taxis: Local taxi ranks known as Noord, MTN, Wanderers, and more reach essentially every destination in Johannesburg, Gauteng, each province in South Africa, and many of the international destinations listed above. While there is no comprehensive guide, one must only walk around at the long-distance taxi rank at Wanderers to find out that one can go nearly anywhere in Southern Africa for an affordable price.
Air travel: Via the Gautrain, any traveler can get directly to or from Park Station and O.R. Tambo International Airport. O.R. Tambo connects to 6 continents around the world, and nearly every large city internationally. Global travelers arrive at Park Station every day via this convenient connection.