The National Household Travel Survey in South Africa (NHTS): South Africans take 45 million trips, mostly by foot


Media release                                                                                                                                                04 March 2021

The National Household Travel Survey in South Africa (NHTS): South Africans take 45 million trips, mostly by foot

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released its travel survey which gives transport needs and behaviour, assesses attitudes towards transport services, and how South Africans get to their workplaces, educational institutions and other places. The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) 2020 reveal that the main purpose of travel for most households was getting to education institutions.

“The primary purpose of undertaking a trip by household members was travelling to educational institutions,” revealed Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke.

The NHTS 2020 report also reveals that the number of South Africans who had travelled during the seven days prior to the survey increased from 42,4 million in 2013 to 45,0 million in 2020.

Gauteng (28,2%) had the largest number of individuals who undertook trips during the seven days prior to the interviews, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (16,9%), Western Cape (11,2%) and Limpopo (11,2%). Northern Cape had the least number of persons who undertook trips (2,3%).

Trips to the usual workplace were the second most common purpose for household members to travel. These trips were most predominant in Western Cape (37,4%), Gauteng (31,1%), and KwaZulu-Natal (28,3%). Also, these proportions were much higher than the national proportion of 26,3%.

About 17,4 million South Africans walked all the way to their destination, followed by 10,7 million individuals who made use of taxis and 6,2 million who used a car/truck as a driver.

Trains were the mode of travel that was least used by household members, except for Western Cape (1,6%) and Gauteng (1,5%), where more than one per cent of household members used this mode of transport.

The report further shows that 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%.

In 2020, learners who used public transport experienced long travel times in the morning to access their educational institution — train users travelled for 91 minutes, bus travellers spent 59 minutes travelling and taxi users travelled 51 minutes.

Learners who walked all the way to their educational institution required 29 minutes to arrive at their institution.

The percentage of learners who travelled for longer than 60 minutes to their educational institution increased most significantly in Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng

It is reported that most workers used private transport (43,5%) as their main mode of travel to work, while 35,0% used public transport. Approximately twenty per cent of workers reported walking all the way (20,3%).

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.

The percentage of workers who spent 15 minutes or more walking to their first transport decreased nationally from 14,7% in 2013 to 11,5% in 2020. Similarly, the proportion of workers who waited more than 15 minutes for the first public transport decreased from 10,3% in 2013 to 6,7% in 2020.

The household travel survey reported that in 2020, workers who used public transport experienced a long travel time in the morning to access their workplace; train users travelled for 107 minutes, bus travellers spent 84 minutes travelling, and taxi users travelled 63 minutes. Those who used a car/bakkie/truck as passengers needed 49 minutes to get to work, while those who drove took 44 minutes.

There has been a general increase in households who used a taxi (from 9,8 million to 11,4 million). However, a significant decrease was recorded in the number of households who used a bus (from 2,9 million to 2,1 million) and a train (1,4 million to 0,5 million) as their preferred mode of transport.

In 2020, travel cost (30,8%) surpassed travel time as (23,3%) as the biggest factor influencing modal choice of households. Flexibility was mentioned by 11,9% of households.

Train passengers have higher dissatisfaction rates, with the exception of fares, while Taxi and Bus passengers are particularly dissatisfied with facilities at taxi rank or bus stop, the behaviour of the taxi/bus drivers.


Issued by Statistics South Africa


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