LockdownSA: Taxi ranks, bus terminals abuzz with travellers
Some of those boarding minibus taxis and buses said they believed heading for their sparsely populated “homes” would spare their lives in the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases.
Taxi marshals were hard at work at the Bosman and Marabastad taxi ranks, as they directed passengers headed to places such as Bizana in the Eastern Cape, Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal and Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
A few of them wore face masks, while some used bandanas and other clothing items to cover their mouths and noses.
Some people saw the lockdown as a chance to bond with families whom they normally only saw during the festive season holidays.
A couple from Vryburg, who would normally make the journey every three months and stay for a few days, said three weeks at home would be a rare opportunity to bond with their children, who live in the North West.
“Yes, we are scared of the virus, but we are seeing a loophole in the lockdown to spend time with our families,” said the couple. For them the virus would eventually affect everyone.
Another commuter Tebelo Sefolo said she and her three children were heading to Letsitele to escape the crowded and unsanitary conditions of Pretoria.
“We are running away from this 21-day lockdown,” said Sefolo as she waited to board a long-distance minibus taxi.
“I think Limpopo is safer than Gauteng. There’s not a lot of people that side compared to the urban areas, and it’s spacious there. Here the houses are too close together, there the houses are scattered far apart. It’s much safer.”
With the lockdown in full force, hundreds of people left Gauteng and headed to different provinces.
At the long-distance taxi rank of Marabastad, the number of people queuing had increased rapidly compared to Wednesday. The lines stretched around the taxi rank, with people clutching their belongings.
One taxi owner said there was no one coming to Pretoria from Limpopo, everyone was leaving. He said the lockdown would have a negative effect on them as it would be no work, no pay for him and his staff.
However, he said the advantage would be that he would get to spend time with his family.
“During the lockdown, I will be sitting at home with my family. The advantage is that I will be bonding with my family because I am mostly away,” he said.
One man said he was travelling to Maputo. Carrying more than three bags and a 25l bucket, the man was still trying to buy a bus ticket.