The busiest petrol stations when travelling on South Africa’s main routes

New data shows which service stations and destinations in South Africa proved to be the most popular for travellers over the December festive season.

Lightstone Explore, a provider of geospatial analytics, worked together with Tracker to analyse the driving behaviour of 150,000 South African commuters, where vehicles are fitted with telemetry devices.

The analysis measured vehicles from 1 to 31 December 2017.

From the vehicles analysed, Lightstone  found that 58% of tracked vehicles actually stayed at home and were driving around locally during the holiday period. About 20% of vehicles were used to drive to holiday destinations, while 22% of vehicles were not driven for extensive periods – thought to belong to families who either flew to their destination, or used their other car to drive to their destination.

More notably, the data group found that of the vehicles owned by those living in wealthier areas, 60% had owners who went away for the holiday, compared to 36% of vehicles generally located in less affluent areas having owners who went away for the holiday.

Holiday travel trends

According to Lightstone’s data, the most visited province by car was KwaZulu Natal, followed by Limpopo, then the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. The least popular destinations to visit over this period was the Free State and the Northern Cape.

Coastal residents living in KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape were less likely to travel due to their proximity to the beach, however inhabitants of Gauteng, the Free State and the Eastern Cape were most likely to travel, the group said.

Because of this, the most visited service stations were along the main routes to these destinations.

Engen and Shell stations  got the most visits from holiday makers over the December period, with 37% and 30% of overall visits recorded respectively.

“This can (to a large degree) be attributed to their large footprint along the most popular route,” Lightstone said.

“Sasol (earmarked as the most popular day-to-day service station in 2017) only had 8% of the visits over this period, mostly as a result of their limited footprint along the major holiday routes.”

As part of the government’s road safety initiatives drivers were implored to make frequent stops during their journey to reduce fatalities. Looking at the duration of stops along the N3 to KwaZulu Natal the following findings have been highlighted:

  • Average time spent at service stations was 20 minutes
  • Only 15% of drivers stopped for five minutes
  • 65% of drivers rested for five to 30 minutes
  • 20% of drivers stopped for more than 30 minutes

“Of the service stations on this route, Engen Bergview and Shell Ultra City in Montrose were the two most popular stops,” Lightstone said.

“Both service stations enjoy traffic in both directions which would explain this finding in part, however, they also boasted the longest average period of stopping times with Engen at 33 minutes and Shell at 26 minutes. The Shell Ultra City in Harrismith was the poorest performer overall.”

Read: The 10 most expensive homes sold in South Africa in 2017

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The busiest petrol stations when travelling on South Africa’s main routes