With the EcoMobility Festival in its second week, Sandton commuters are feeling the heat both in terms of disruptions to their trips to and from work and… well… the heat.

While the Festival’s twin goals of reducing congestion in Africa’s richest square mile and promoting the benefits of public transport is to be applauded, it would be disingenuous to say that everyone working in Sandton is thrilled with the Festival’s zoning restrictions. So, in the interests of making EcoMobility month easier on everyone, we’ve comprised a list of services budding entrepreneurs could offer Sandton commuters. Who knows? You could possibly even make a decent buck off some of them.

Image CC D Sharon Pruitti
Image CC D Sharon Pruitti

Sell drinks

Since foot-traffic in Sandton is set to increase for the duration of this month, why not offer thirsty commuters a drink on their way to work. In the early morning coffees would probably do a roaring trade, while in the afternoon as the mercury rises cold drinks and bottled water would likely sell by the truckload. This is probably the most obvious idea for an EcoMobility Festival business and to be honest, we’d be shocked if there isn’t anyone currently providing this service in Sandton right now.

Segway Polo, CC Braden Kowitz
Segway Polo, CC Braden Kowitz

Rent out Segways…

There will be a ton of commuters pounding the pavement in Sandton and the prospect of going home with sore feet everyday is bound to set many of them on edge. So why not ease their daily grind by hiring out a Segway. No one needs a license to ride one, they don’t pollute the environment and they’re easy enough to store in the lobby of most office buildings.

Make the most of it. Police in Europe recently reaffirmed their opposition to allowing Segways or so-called hoverboards on pavements or roads due to safety concerns.

…or stick with bikes

The advantages of riding a bike in and around Sandton are similar to riding a Segway – except in the case of the former you have the added feature of a cardio work-out. It might be worth renting out a bicycles to those commuters who don’t fancy paying the requisite fare to travel to and from the Sandton CBD via the Gautrain bus service.

Back when EcoMobility was in the planning stages, it was suggested that there’d be an official cycle-sharing scheme, which sadly never manifested itself.

Outdoor showers, CC Martin Malina
Outdoor showers, CC Martin Malina

Provide roadside ablutions…

Since there will be numerous commuters cycling into work or walking through the streets in face-melting heat, they may want to be able to freshen up before that all important business meeting. Why not offer them a quick wash in a portable shower? They’re readily available from most camping retailers and if you leave the water for them out in a dark container in the sun, chances are you can even offer your patrons a hot water wash. Not that they’d likely want one in this heat…

…or just a freshen up kit

Then again, some commuters might not have the time to take a shower, but could manage a quick trip to a bathroom to freshen up. In which instance, why not sell them a kit containing everything they need – handsoap, deodorant, floss, breath-freshening gum, toothbrush and paste. You could even toss in a bottle of water for their walk back to the Gautrain and maybe a map showing the optimum routes to take to their destination.

Open a fan shop

Given the fact that the EcoMobility Festival is occurring in the middle of one of the most oppressive heatwaves in recent memory, selling fans to commuters seems like something of a no-brainer. Along with traditional fans, handheld electric fans can provide and absolute boon to travellers – particularly those facing trips into Sandton on buses that don’t have any onboard air-conditioners.

Zombie! CC Daniel Hollister
Zombie! CC Daniel Hollister

Feed the walkers

As was mentioned earlier, while the closure of Sandton’s CBD to traffic has merit as an idea, it’s put a lot of strain on commuters – as well as a lot of noses out of joint. It might help the general mood of the place if people making their way to and from Sandton had something to look forward to – like a decent breakfast provided by a pop up vendor. Obviously this being Sandton we’ll expect more than the customary bags of nuts, lollipops and fruit of downtown street vendors. Shakes, smoothies, fruit and muesli yoghurt will probably go down a treat with the health-nut crowd, while chicken mayo or bacon sandwiches could aid any executives nursing a hangover from a night on the tiles.

Import some rickshaws

While many may balk at the idea of cycling to work  there is another alternative to human power; the humble rickshaw.  While the Durban rickshaw is most popular as an attraction across the East Coast of South Africa, these decorated carts would be far too big to fit into the cycle lanes of Sandton.

The smaller, more plain bicycle-rickshaw would be a better fit. Those with the will (and calf muscles) to quickly get people around may find profit. In addition, they’re supremely efficient and have zero emissions.

Punchbags. CC Brian Evans
Punchbags. CC Brian Evans

Start a Stress Alleviation Service

If all else fails – fans, magazines, Segways, bikes and rickshaw – you could always set up a stall that alleviates the stress faced by commuters. Whether this takes the form of quick shoulder massages, an umbrella offering shade or naps with accompanying whale sounds played through an iPod is up to you. We suggest you may also want to invest in a selection of punching bags, perhaps with some annoying brands or the likeness of Justin Bieber printed on them.