Tshwane taxi ranks get sanitising booths to fight coronavirus
Pretoria - Sanitising booths and hands free sanitising points have been added as an extra layer in the bid to stave off the coronavirus at Tshwane taxi ranks.
Gauteng MEC for Transport Jacob Mamabolo who was joined by Tshwane metro administrator Mpho Nawa said the piloted interventions such as the sanitising booths at the Mabopane Taxi Rank which commuters have to pass through before they board their taxis were great initiatives during the fight against Covid-19.
He said the challenge with the booths was directing passengers to them.
“Taxi ranks have multiple entry points as well as infrastructure challenges so we need to look at how we can change that so commuters know how to move and go through the booth before boarding, ensuring they are sanitised.”
He commended the taxi industry for complying to regulation gazetted by the government during the lockdown even though there were rogue elements playing hide and seek.
Enforcement officers from taxi rank committees to enforce all the regulations according to Mamabolo would also add an extra layer of protection for commuters and drivers against the virus as taxi ranks were considered transmission hotspots and high risk.
“We have been to every rank in Tshwane".
Mamabolo said in addition to sanitising ranks, taxis and the wearing of masks, the department had also ensured that waiting areas were clearly demarcated, and that physical distancing was key.
In addition, the provincial department said commuters would now be sanitised at every loading bay.
“We are doing this as a reaction to non-adherence to social distancing,” added Mamabolo.
He said the sanitising of taxis would continue and they would up the rate across the province which boasts over 800 taxis. “This will also give us the opportunity to enforce the wearing of masks.”
He reiterated the "no mask no ride" rule.
City administrator Mpho Nawa said while the virus was devastating to the city’s economy it was challenging the metro to come up with initiatives to keep citizens safe.
He said it was his wish that youth could be deployed to clean the rank daily and be paid for their services, and push township entrepreneurship and empower the area going forward and beyond the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Modernisation in taxi ranks is critical but it should not take away jobs at the same time.”
He said they had also visited Hammanskraal and were also looking at other ways to bring in technology into taxi ranks and improve the way public transport works while ensuring it was clean and hygienic.
Commuter Collen Mabasa said the added booth and hands-free sanitiser was an added boost and would give commuters peace of mind and a bit of certainty that they were safe and the government and taxi industry has their safety as their first priority.
He said the booths should be rolled out to other areas, where masses were likely to congregate, or pass through to look for different transport modes or to communities that are congested.