To Drive Or Not To Drive? That Is The Question

Pros and Cons

By: Bongiwe Zwane – Maseko

With the ridiculous fuel costs, many people have decided to park their cars and use public transportation. In Eswatini, this refers to buses and kombis since we don’t have trains and cabs are not a viable option. Families have had to rethink their monthly travel budget, and while some feel public transport lessens the burden, others don’t agree.

With a litre of petrol sitting at almost E20, it’s a pickle either way. I know that given a choice, most people probably would drive rather than take the bus. Driving provides easy mobility and the flexibility to go anywhere the road goes. However, there is no such thing as a free meal, and driving comes with its problems. On the other hand, boarding a bus, on the other hand, limits your mobility and presents you with another challenge such as overcrowding. However, it also has its pros, such as lower costs and reduced stress in a traffic jam.

Here are the basic pros and cons for and against both driving and taking public transport. Let’s start with driving first.
The pros of driving;
• Ease of mobility – By driving your car, you can go wherever you want, if the place is accessible by road.
• Comfort – The comfort provided by your car own car, no matter how old, is unmatched by any bus seat. There can simply be no comparison. You can even rest and sleep in your car when you are tired. I don`t know if I would be comfortable sleeping on a bus, but I know about many people who are known to doze off on a bus seat.
• Convenience – You don’t have to wait for any schedule as you can drive your car anytime you like. You can also keep all your items in your car trunk and leave them there until you need them out. Try doing that on a bus!
• Personal security – As long as you drive cautiously, you are safer in your car than in a bus where you are an easy target for people trying to rob or harm you.

The cons of driving;
• Car insurance – You have to pay the insurance which dents your budget. If you have multiple cars, then car insurance can take the fun out of driving when you think of the costs
• Repair and maintenance – Your car is a machine, and it can’t run without regular maintenance. The annual cost of servicing, repairs and maintenance can be high depending on the type of car and how you drive.
• High costs – Fuel and diesel cost an arm and a leg.
• Traffic – Driving can be highly stressful when you are stuck in a traffic jam, which is a fact of life in cities, especially during rush hours.

The pros of public transport;
• Free to do other things – Since your hands and feet are not occupied, you are free to read a book, get busy on your phone or just relax and enjoy the scenery.
• Meet interesting people – Thousands of people take public transport daily and you will get the opportunity to meet interesting people. If you don’t mind talking to strangers, then you can even strike up some meaningful friendships.
• Less stressful – Taking the bus is less stressful in a traffic jam.

The cons of public transport;
• Lack of privacy – With so many people sharing a confined space, you have no privacy on a bus. You cannot talk or hum to yourself without attracting several pairs of curious and disapproving eyes.
• Reduced personal security – public transport drivers are not exactly known for driving cautiously so the risk of accidents is always there.
• Delays – there is a high risk of getting to your destination later than envisaged since you are not in control of the vehicle.

Most people who own cars choose to drive whenever they feel like it. It`s convenient, often reliable, and for the most part, safe. I know many people who would never be seen taking the bus. I have done both and can appreciate the good and bad in both. I guess it’s all up to personal choice, but the reality is that with rising fuel costs if you’re going to take a car it would be cheaper to consider car-pooling.

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