An open letter of congratulation and gratitude to all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town

Hello all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town,

You don’t know me, and I haven’t “Gott 2 Tour” (LOL!), but I was fortunate enough to witness a selfless act of humanity by one of the drivers of your 16-seat minibus tour vehicles yesterday evening. In the world today, there are far too few selfless acts of humanity and even fewer open letters of congratulation and gratitude recognising these selfless acts of humanity. Perhaps this is why society is falling apart around us. Or perhaps not. Either way, I don’t feel that it could do any harm for me to write you an open letter of congratulation and gratitude recognising the selfless act of humanity that I witnessed last night.

Picture the scene, if you will, on the M5 Southbound carriageway at around 5:15pm. Mmm… messy.
Somehow – bewilderingly – the traffic seems worse than usual. I realise that this doesn’t seem possible, since the upgrade to Koeberg Interchange effectively destroyed any hope of reasonable traffic flow from the N1 south, but believe me, as a regular driver of this route, things were slower than I was used to; a sure sign of some sort of incident up ahead.

Just north of Berkley, alongside the three lanes of near stationary traffic, a tow truck raced past in the yellow lane on the left hand side of the carriageway. One could see the sudden realisation sweep across the rows frustrated drivers as they suddenly realised that there must be an accident on the road ahead.
No relief from the queues, sure, but at least some reason behind the excessive delay and at least some help was on the way to clear the road and get the traffic moving again.

But you know, much like the proverbial London buses, tow trucks never come one at a time. This is actually quite a good thing, because quite often, there is more than one vehicle involved in an accident and all of the damaged parties have to be removed from the carriageway before the horrible congestion can begin to be addressed. And indeed, true to form, along came another tow truck, its shiny black paintwork gleaming in the evening sunshine.

Now, it should be noted that, technically, driving in the yellow lane isn’t actually allowed. I know this, the traffic police know this, the tow truck drivers know this. But in these cases, where everything else is like a parking lot, the cops are willing to overlook this minor transgression in order to get the tow truck to the scene of the accident, get the road cleared and get the literally hundreds of cars stuck behind the crash, moving again. But the law is the law. And those tow truck drivers were breaking it. We know that everyone hates tow trucks: they’re second only to the minibus taxis and way, way ahead of Golden Arrow buses who occupy third place when it comes to inciting extremes of hypertension amongst the populous of Cape Town.

Naughty tow truck drivers. Naughty.

Gott 2 Tour employees reading this should have no fear, however. I know that the driver of your (empty) white minibus – registration GOTT 3 WP – was aware of this naughtiness as well, because his inner superhero kicked in and he swerved across the inside lane and got his wheels across the yellow line to quickly and effectively block the tow truck. In some sort of twisted analogy for Apartheid, the fat, white bus prevented the sleek, black tow truck from going about his business.

Ha! That’ll show him that we won’t stand for his flagrant disregard for the laws of this country! Yeah, he’s going nowhere now, certainly not past all these irritated drivers and to the scene of the accident up ahead where he will hopefully be able to assist with getting the traffic flow going again and get these hundred of people safely and timeously back to their respective families.
And who cares if I am technically breaking the law by driving at 2kph partially in the yellow lane, because I’m stopping the tow truck driver from driving in the yellow lane, because that’s breaking the law.

So weird though, because there was so little recognition of his selfless act of humanity from the other motorists around him. It was almost as if they were thinking, “Dude, don’t be a twat. That tow truck is going to remove the blockage ahead and get me home in time to see my kids before they go to bed”.
Almost exactly like that, it was.

There was a sort of slow motion stand-off going on over to my left. For second after second, Mr Gott et al, your driver used your tour bus (and effectively, your livelihood) as a rolling barricade to prevent the – now understandably irritated – tow truck driver from getting past in the yellow lane. Well done, tour bus driver! You’ve made a stand for the common man, facing up bravely to the tyranny of the tow truck fraternity and merely inconveniencing everyone else on the entire road as a slightly unfortunate by-product.

Eventually though, your driver realised that he couldn’t keep this courageous behaviour up all the way home, as the margins for error were becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the thoroughly pissed off and increasingly desperate tow truck driver, who seemed almost prepared to see if his vehicle would fit through the tempting – but not ever so wide – gap between bus and kerb.
Eventually, a whole 45 seconds after he began his epic crusade, your driver relented, went back to driving legally, and allowed the tow truck past.

But, you know, point made, right? Right.

If there were medals for holding up a law-breaking tow truck in the traffic for almost a minute while slightly breaking the law yourself, your driver would have got one.  Because that’s exactly what he did. But now the bad news, all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town: I’ve checked, and sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any precedent for awarding medals in this somewhat niche category.

And so it comes down to me to express my congratulations and gratitude in this, an open letter of… er… congratulation and gratitude to all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town.

I think I can safely speak for all the frustrated motorists on the M5 yesterday evening when I say that I will certainly not forget the actions of your driver.

BMW driver proud to be last Koeberg lane cutter

As the new ramp from the M5 North onto the N1 North was opened this morning, with it ended an years-old tradition for many Capetonians – the opportunity to cut-in to the queuing traffic at Koeberg Interchange.

In a press release announcing the opening, a city spokeswoman stated:

The question, much posed in the local media and at parties, as to whether you would describe yourself as a “cutter” or a “queuer” is now no longer valid. The opening of this new ramp will end a great deal of animosity from those who queue, who have endured a great deal of ridicule from the cutting fraternity. This will reduce the negative energy during rush hour and make Cape Town an even nicer place to be: there’s also a wonderful view of Table Mountain from the new bridge.
Drivers will now be able to sail freely through this bottleneck and continue their journey towards Canal Walk and the Boerewors Curtain without delay. Motorists should stay left if they wish to join the N1 North, take the middle lane if they are heading for the city and choose the right lane for the M5 to Milnerton or just for old time’s sake.

The honour of being the final cutter was taken by Chantelle Wessels, a sales manager from Durbanville: a moment caught on the newly-installed Freeway Management System (FMS) cameras at the junction:

I are proud to be the one who is taking this honour. I think I can like to claim it not just for me, but for all the sales managers and aggressive type-A personality go-getters everywhere, and also for all BMW drivers – especially those with CY number plates.
We don’t have the time to hang around in these queues like sheep. We are needing to go out and make money in order to gaudily furnish our Tuscan-style mansions.  Only this morning, I have sold 2 boxes of folded paper towels and some hand cleanser: that sale wouldn’t have happened until 4 minutes later if I hadn’t cut into the queue.

However, Lester Swart – a former queuer – says he will miss the people cutting into the N1-bound traffic:

Yes, I will miss it. It gave me a challenge on the way to work: defending my place in the queue. There’s a great degree of skill involved: it’s clutch control and passive aggressiveness together that goes into pretending to be unaware of a vehicle on your left hand side trying to slip into the line of cars in front of you and blocking it. I would always count it as a big success when I stopped them getting directly in front of me and forced them to join the line a few cars ahead instead.
Now that opportunity for satisfaction has gone. I will miss it, yes.

But overall, the response to the new ramp and bridge was positive. With the city promising that it would cut up to 8 minutes off journeys to the Northern suburbs, many commuters said that they would prefer to spend their up to 8 minutes extra time anywhere but Bellville and were looking forward to up to an extra 8 minutes in bed each morning.

This weekend

It’s been a busy week in the lab and I am more than deserving of a decent break.

The decent break in question will feature braais, a log fire, some red wine and one (or more) evenings spent with some Uitkyk 10-year old potstill brandy. It will also thankfully be spent a couple of hundred kilometres from Koeberg Interchange, which has recently re-become the bane of my life.

For many years, the Koeberg Interchange has been the bane of many other people’s lives as well. But despite the contractor’s assurances that they will complete the work they are doing there 4 months ahead of schedule, it’s recently got a whole lot worse before it (hopefully) gets a whole lot better.

The photo above was taken 14 months ago and scaffolding is still the major feature of this most remarkable of road intersections.

More Koeberg related pics here.

Live from Koeberg Interchange

Just popped across the road to get a couple of shots of the truck that has shed its load of metalwork at the deviation just beyond the Koeberg Interchange.

Bigger here

The front truck is the one that tipped over (it’s righted now), the rear truck is trying to move the large pieces of  red metalwork from the road. The traffic cops are sitting there having a fag. I think we’re looking at hours rather than minutes to clear it.

Take it easy on the way out of town tonight. Don’t get stressed and use our LIVE traffic cameras page to see the latest.

Koeberg Interchange/N1 Closures

Expect plenty of delays this weekend as the N1 is closed between Marine Drive and the infamous Koeberg Interchange as follows:

N1 Table Bay Boulevard : Inbound
SATURDAY – the carriageway will be closed for roadworks between the M5 Koeberg Interchange and Marine Drive from 1pm until 5am Sunday – traffic will be diverted via Koeberg Road and Section Road to Marine Drive

N1 Table Bay Boulevard : Outbound
SUNDAY – the carriageway will be closed for roadworks between Marine Drive and the M5 Koeberg Interchange from 6am until 5am Monday – traffic will be diverted via Marine Drive and Section Road

And who can forget the last time they closed the N1 for roadworks for the weekend – and accidentally ran over – by two days?
Good luck to you if you’re heading out that way this weekend. You must be mad.

Helpful links  >> Plans for Koeberg Interchange | Cape Town Traffic Webcams – LIVE! | Plans for Hospital Bend