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For Transport Month in October, WWF South Africa collaborated with Open Streets Cape Town to bring the city its first ever low-carbon transport competition: the A to B Challenge.
It’s a follow-up to WWF’s other successful low-carbon challenges – the Earth Hour Capital Challenge and the EcoMobility Challenge ‑ pioneered in Tshwane and Johannesburg respectively.
Participants came together for adventure; travelling from place to place across the city and completing mini challenges at each checkpoint.
Teams had to decide how to best travel to Open Streets Langa by choosing public, non-motorised or electric transport options that result in the lowest carbon emissions.
The team that completed the journey with the smallest carbon footprint would win.
The challengers included media personality Liezel van der Westhuizen, Western Cape MEC for Transport, Donald Grant, and City of Cape Town MMC for Economic Development, Eddie Andrews.
Teams were put together to get a good mix of transport expertise from users in each team – those usually in private cars, others who rely on public transport – and to learn the most from each other’s experiences during the challenge.
Each team had someone from government to experience the services they provide first hand. Team members did not know each other before the race.
Each team had to use at least four different modes of transport, these included MyCiti Bus, Golden Arrow Bus Services, Metrorail, minibus taxi, walking, cycling, and electric vehicles, being the Nissan Leaf and eWizz electric motorbikes.
At the end in the Gugu S’thebe cultural centre in Langa, Team Sanko (featuring Sanele Nyoka, Kirsten Wilkins and Oswald Maloy, a senior manager from Golden Arrow Bus Services) came in last in time but took first prize.
The competition was very close, and they achieved the lowest carbon footprint by walking to the train interchange instead of taking a train to it as others did.
How to do your bit
The A to B Challenge gave people the chance to explore transport options and interrogate the link between behaviour and climate change through experiential learning.
Transport is South Africa’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after our coal-based electricity supply. Over half of these emissions are due to passenger transport, and of those 69% comes from cars. Besides earning your green stripes, avoiding one-person-one-car trips connects you with other people and lets you experience your city afresh.
Public transport can work for everyone. Factors that will draw people to or keep them on public transport include affordability, convenience, reliability, availability and frequency, and safety, which could be provided by an integrated public transport system.
Because our public transport does not yet offer all that, we tend to buy a car as soon as we can afford it. It is also seen as a status symbol to show that you are now well off.
As a younger person moving up in the world, you face choices about your lifestyle, including your mobility options, and will hopefully consider the impact these have on others, the economy and the planet ‑ and your own wellbeing.
Thank you to those who contributed in cash or kind: Accelerate Cape Town, Adventure Inc., Boland Promotions, Cape Talk, City Sightseeing Cape Town, DoubleTree by Hilton, eWizz, Golden Arrow Bus Services, Hotel Verde, KFM, Metrorail, MyCiti, Nissan, Ocean Basket, Park Inn by Radisson, SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport, The Green House, Tsogo Sun, Upcycles, Zando. Volvo Trucks and Busses funds WWF’s global City Challenge Mobility programme, and Open Streets is funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.