The Boys Not On The Bus: Riding Around Solo On FIFA's Cravenly Shunned Media Vehicles

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

JOHANNESBURG — Getting around this city during the World Cup has been an unholy mess. Traffic can be obscene. Cabbies have turned into pirates. So it's nice to have access to media shuttles. Too bad almost nobody uses them.

Hundreds of shuttles crisscross the city every day burning money and gas. I've been on several. It's like having a giant shabby limo all to yourself.


FIFA also set up shuttles for fans. But transit is all tied up with class around here, and wealthier South Africans won't use the buses. They're terrified of public transportation:

"Old habits die hard," says Tony Twine, an economist at Johannesburg-based advisory service Econometrix. "Public transport is used by poor people and is not a feature of middle-class life, whereas attendance at these games is. Persuading people to use public transport is not an idea you sell in a weekend."


Journalists are sniffing at mass transit, too, it would seem. Yahoo! hired its own transportation and muscle to ferry around its writers. And one can only imagine how the intrepid folks at other big outlets are bushwhacking their way through the tournament.

But allow me to assure everyone: There is nothing on these mostly vacant media shuttles that should concern you.

Nothing at all.

Except maybe this guy:


Luke O'Brien is a writer in Washington, D.C. He's written for Details, Washington Post Magazine, Boston Magazine,, and other publications. He'll be filing dispatches from South Africa throughout the World Cup.