City of Cape Town proposes amendments on public transport lockdown regulations
Transport mayco member Felicity Purchase said they do not know how long the national lockdown will last.
According to Purchase, the proposed amendments are aimed at clarifying “contradicting” regulations, to relax the operating hours to reduce the number of people travelling in the peak hours, improve the implementation of physical distancing in public transport vehicles, and address general health and safety issues such as the sanitisation of vehicles, and the provision of hand sanitiser to commuters.
Some of the proposed amendments included the extension of operating hours for all public transport services.
“The proposal is to either allow passengers to also travel in the afternoon - between 12pm and 2pm, or to allow public transport operators to transport passengers from 5am until 8pm daily. Longer operating hours will assist with easing queues at taxi ranks, bus stations and stops, and at shopping centres and shops.”
She said that currently, only the minibus-taxi industry was allowed to proceed to pick-up and drop-off points outside of the allowed operating hours.
“This grace period should be extended to all public transport service providers. All public transport vehicles must have windows that can open. Standing must be allowed on buses and midi-buses - as this will make it easier for passengers to space themselves and avoid physical contact.”
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) secretary Mandla Hermanus said the City has been “extraordinarily” silent and absent, as far as providing any assistance to the taxi industry goes.
“There has been no support, in terms of cleaning of ranks or ensuring the safety of commuters. They have been preoccupied with checking if operators were sanitising the ranks, taxis, and passengers, yet they have not provided any materials for operators,” he said.
However, Purchase said Covid-19 has been challenging them every day.
“The most important message is to avoid unnecessary trips and stay at home. Only use public transport when you absolutely need to.
"If you do travel, wash your hands often, avoid physical contact with other people, avoid touching common surfaces and don’t touch your face. Wash your hands after getting off the bus and don’t travel if you are sick,” Purchase said. Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela urged taxi owners and operators to abide by the amended transport regulations, and to respect the rule of law.
Madikizela said that since the lockdown he had received complaints of illegal activities conducted by long-distance taxi operators. He said Joe Gqabi Interchange has been identified as a hot spot where those operations are common.
“I would like to remind public transport operators that transport regulations restrict the purposes for which public transport can be used, the number of people who can be transported in a public transport vehicle, the times when public transport can operate, and the safety and hygiene standards that public transport services must follow.
"No long distance travelling is allowed,” Madikizela said.@SISONKE_MD