The taxi industry has promised to continue adhering to non-pharmaceutical Covid interventions such as social distancing and sanitizing.
Transport mobility is expected to increase after the leisure travel ban to and from Gauteng was lifted on Sunday.
MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo made a clarion call for transport operators to scale up preventative measures and continue practicing responsible behavior to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Mamabolo said: “With the introduction of the level 3 regulations allowing for increased levels of mobility, we plead with public transport operators not to let their guard down and continue enforcing Covid-19 regulations in their facilities.”
He remarked that public transport bore the responsibility for preventing the spread of the virus, especially with more people expected to go back to work and visit places of leisure.
Mamabolo, who has been monitoring public transport nodes through the department’s #SmartMobilityWeekends programme, expressed concern that in some taxi ranks and intermodal facilities, commuters were not being sanitised.
“I am concerned about laxity in some facilities, especially the sanitisation of commuters. This period demands nothing but discipline at all our public transport nodes,” he said.
While promising to continue sticking to Covid-19 regulations, Gauteng South Africa National Taxi Council secretary, Khazamula Chabalala, said it was not true that commuters were not being sanitised.
“I think it is not true because the queue marshals have sanitisers that they get from us to sanitise commuters. Even taxi drivers, each and every one of them, carries a bottle of sanitiser.
“And from the provincial level we are providing all taxi associations with sanitisers. Some of these sanitisers were obtained from MEC Mamabolo.”
As far as he was concerned, taxi ranks in the province were adhering to the stipulated Covid-19 rules, Chabalala said.
South African National Taxi Council regional chairperson Abner Tsebe said: “I know that commuters are sanitised and there are marshals on the ground to make sure that they are sanitised in all the ranks.”
He also shared the sentiment that taxi ranks in Tshwane were adhering to regulations, and that the situation was “so far, so good”.
Mamabolo urged residents to continue registering and visiting vaccination sites to receive their shots.
“Vaccination and non-pharmaceutical interventions are our best bet to defeat Covid-19. This includes regular hand-washing with soap and making use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Wearing a mask and social distancing remain our best defence against the virus,” he said.