Public transport in general and passenger trains in particular are often advertised as solutions to mobility challenges due to their relatively low carbon footprint, high commuter load, high public safety, and contribution to reduced road congestion. But, how do these advantages apply to contexts characterized by inequality, poverty, and exclusion, and where train infrastructure is underdeveloped and poorly maintained? In this study, we examine the imaginaries and their associated transport predispositions of Metrorail users in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Based on 31 interviews conducted with Metrorail users, we explored how they conceptualize access to and use of mobility. The conceptual framework for this is provided by the Motility
concept as developed by Kaufmann, Bergman, and Joye. Findings show that the context and culture defining the daily lives of Metrorail users reflect a reality, which is far removed from the way we theorize sustainable mobility. The limitations of spatial and social inequality, which create the mobility boundaries of Motility
for these commuters, reveal a significant gap between their lives and the policies aimed to foster our sustainable mobility future. Despite this, the commuters of our study are highly mobile, and we end this article with an attempt to align these conflicting domains of dysfunctional contexts, mobility practices, and sustainability ideals.
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