Parents fear children's coronavirus safety after school transport vow to load at full capacity
Many of these transporters fall under the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) which has said it would operate at full capacity instead of the regulated 70% capacity, because of a dispute with the transport minister over Covid-19 funding,
The Learner Transporters of South Africa said with only one week left before the largest number of pupils returned to school, operators of scholar transport have not been given operation guidelines and would therefore load to their normal full capacity when transporting pupils to school.
These scholar transport operators said they would not increase the monthly fares for now, but would follow the Santaco resolution of loading at full capacity.
This has caused parents of children who use this service to panic.
The Daily News spoke to a few parents who use the service, with many fearing their children would contract the virus if transported in full taxis.
Some said the only reason they would be sending their children to school was because the department had promised safety at schools, but if scholar transport operators were not going to practise physical distancing when loading, they were thinking twice about sending their children back to school.
A Newlands East mother said she was not willing to take this risk with her two daughters.
“I will monitor the way that the children are loaded. If there is no physical distancing, then I am not going to send my daughters to school. They would be safer at home. Usually they are packed like bags of potatoes, but those days are gone. Things need to change,”she said.
Another parent said it was no secret that children were squashed in the scholar transport.
“If this continues, then parents are going to lose their children to the pandemic in the name of getting them to school, no matter what,” he said.
Santaco in KwaZulu-Natal rejected the government’s R1billion relief package as not enough for the amount of business lost by the taxi industry.
The association said it resolved to load taxis to full capacity and would increase fares as from Monday.