Jammie: light blue bus dedicated to transporting staff and students of UCT to and from upper campus.
Lots of ads for digs will say that they’re “close to jammie route”, but that’s fairly ambiguous; jammies go far and wide, take different amounts of time to get places, and aren’t all equally reliable. Seeing as transport is a fairly big factor in deciding where to live, we’ve tried to demystify the workings of the jammie system for you.
Do not panic and run away!
This is a lot of info, and all rather confusing, but we’re going to walk you through it, so don’t feel too stressed. The main aim of the list below is to give you an idea of where the jammies can take you, and the details about that. The idea is that you get an idea of whether it’s better to live in Gardens or Rondebosch, purely based on transport. There are, of course, more things than the jammie route to consider. For example, although Rondebosch and Rosebank are technically closer to Upper Campus, there aren’t any jammies that run there, so you have to find a way to either walk or cycle to campus. Gardens, whilst further out, is on a jammie route. Silly things like that are sometimes hard to know for sure when navigating a strange place.
Before we get to the actual content, here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Although jammie routes are centred around the UCT campuses and residences, they’re also super useful for getting to things like town and shopping centres.
- The res loop is a route that runs after hours, but because it goes to all the reses before getting to upper campus (the ultimate destination of all jammies), it takes forever to get to where you want. Also, there route operates clockwise and anti-clockwise, so be savvy about which one you jump on.
- Remember that there might still be a fair walk from the jammie stop to your digs. Whilst the after-hours jammies are useful, it’s never safe to walk in the dark. Try either a) living suuuper close to jammie stops (which is difficult), or b) getting home before dark.
Attached you’ll find a pdf which tabulates all of this, but the ins and outs of web designs dictate that tables be avoided, so instead you’ll find a list. Don’t try read it all at once unless you’re super confident; you’ll decide to just stay at home and forget transport. Instead, look for the area you’re looking at: if it’s a sub-heading then you’re sorted, otherwise type “ctrl + f” and then type the name of the area, to see if it’s mentioned anywhere. If it isn’t, then your area may be a little out of jammie territory. Don’t stress if it is! There are other ways of getting places, it’s just that we won’t be looking at them in this article.
So, without further ado, here is where jammies can take you:
Claremontstops just below Cavendish centre
Areas close to this: Newlands. In fact, the jammie has a mini stop in Newlands, close to Dean street.
How long it will take (from upper campus): This is highly dependent on traffic, but usually 15-20 minutes. It can get pretty crowded, so often it’s 10-15 minutes spent trying not to hit someone with your elbow when the bus breaks.
After hours: It runs until about 9pm on weekdays.
Weekends: It comes every half hour on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, starting at 7 and stopping at 2.
Reliability: This jammie is an old faithful. If you see one leaving just as you run up to the stop, you’ll only wait 10 minutes until the next one shows up.
Gardensthis jammie takes you in to the town campus of Hiddingh. It does stop off along the way, at Gardens shopping centre, but they’re close enough to each other to ignore the distinction for the time being.
Areas close to this: Oranjezicht, Zonnebloem. This is also on the MyCiti bus route, so you can take a bus to catch a bus, if that makes sense. It takes a huge chunk of time though.
How long it will take (from upper campus): Okay I’m going to keep saying that times depend on traffic, but this one really does. The trip can anywhere between 20 – 45 minutes. It’s a pretty drive though, all the way to the other side of Devil’s Peak.
After hours: Runs until midnight, although every half an hour instead of every 20 minutes.
Weekends: Saturdays it runs until 18:00. Sundays/public holidays until about 14:00.
Reliability: Sometimes great, sometimes touchy. One of those when sometimes one just won’t pitch, other times one will be on the tail of the other.
Mowbray 1stops at Forest Hill residence
Areas close to this: Rosebank
How long it will take (from upper campus): Straight 15 minutes to campus, but longer on the way back, because it goes vis Mowbray station.
After hours: Technically this ends at 18:00, but see below for more details. Also part of the res loop until midnight.
Weekends: A Forest Hill-dedicated route doesn’t run on public holidays, but we do a buddy system with the other Mowbray stops, so see below. Also, res loop until midnight on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Reliability: Usually pretty good. Oddly, it seems more reliable leaving from Forest than it does leaving from Upper. It’ll feel like you’re waiting for ages on Upper, but we’re probably just imagining it.
(Also, pro-tip: the jammies park just above this stop, so if you miss your bus you can try standing there looking sad and a nice driver may take pity on you and take you to upper.)
Mowbray 2stops at Liesbeek residence, on the other side of the railway line
Areas close to this: Rosebank
How long it will take (from upper campus): Also 15 minutes to/from campus.
After hours: Core service ends at 18:00, also part of the res loop until midnight. Here’s an odd thing about Liesbeek and Forest though – they have a shneaky combined service that runs until 10:30. Only comes every half hour, but still useful.
Weekends: Res loop: still midnight on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. The combined service is also supposed to run on Saturdays until 13:00, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, and you have to rough it with res loop only.
Reliability: Much the same as the Forest jammie.
Just a note: Forest kids feel that there are always too many Liesbeek jammies, and Liesbeek kids feel there are always too many Forest jammies. It’s just the way the world works.
Mowbray 3this is the bus station, which can link you up to a fleet of taxis going all over, busses going all over, and a train going either left or right
Areas close to this: Although not close to any other area, you can catch a bus/taxi/train to a number of different areas if needs be.
How long it will take (from upper campus): Feel like a wild guess? Yup. Also 15 minutes.
After hours: Also ends at 18:00.
Reliability: See the beauty of this is that you can catch either Forest or Liesbeek or Mowbray and all of them stop here, so chances are you can get there asap.
Observatorythe jammie stops at Obs Square, a residence, which is walking distance from many digs spots
Areas close to this: Woodstock looks close, but it’s too far to make the Obs jammie useful, so don’t be fooled.
How long it will take (from upper campus): Okay the timetable says – you guessed it – 15 minutes, but I have it from a reliable source that the trip consistently takes 8 minutes. It’s a liitle alarming, but there you go.
After hours: Also stops at 18:00, also part of res loop until midnight. There’s also a fancy collab album that gets dropped: the Roch jammie can take you via Obs until 21:00. Weekends: Res loop: midnight Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays. On Saturdays there’s a jammie that goes between Roch, Clarinus, and Obs, but it only runs until 14:30.
Reliability: There’s always some way to get to Obs, even if it isn’t strictly speaking the Obs jammie. Med School and Roch will also do right by you.
Sandownthis goes straight into residential territory
Areas close to this: Rondebosch
How long it will take (from upper campus): 20 minutes, depending on how kind the traffic along Main Road is.
After hours: After hours this jammie is a no-show. It keeps suburban hours at retires at 18:00 sharp.
Weekends: It also needs rest. Make another plan.
Reliability: Erratic. Seriously, sometimes it just disappears into another dimension or something.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the jammie routes. For example, there are jammies for Rochester and Med School, but insiders know that they either take you to the same place as the obs square jammie, or are straight up useless. So you can use the list above as a fairly comprehensive one, we say with all due humility.
Just a quick disclaimer: jammies are subject to change. Sometimes routes will be discontinued, but the ones listed here have been going for ages, so it’s fairly safe to bet that they’ll be around for a while more.
Best of luck to all the seekers out there.