Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has urged all taxi owners and operators to abide by the amended regulations and preserve the lives of their passengers. Mbalula has announced amended measures for public transport during the remainder of the coronavirus lockdown period.
Public transport will be permitted to ferry essential services workers from 5am to 10am and from 4pm to 8pm. Minibuses and midibuses will get an hour’s grace to get to pick-up and drop-off points before the official operating hours.
Addressing the media at the Noord Taxi Rank in Johannesburg on Wednesday, the Minister said that MECs in all provinces expressed reservations over the new amendments.
“We will continue to engage with the taxi industry. All MEC’s, you will be expected to engage with everybody at this level. As I implement these directions, all the MEC’s of Transport throughout the country have been consulted. They raised reservations and also my colleagues in cabinet raised reservations because, at the end of the day, we must not compromise the preservation of life, because you know that transport is the biggest spreader of disease and in particular coronavirus.”
Mbalula has met with the leadership of then National Taxi Council and the National Taxi Alliance.
During the lockdown period, minibuses will be allowed to carry only 70% of their maximum licensed passenger seating capacity, if passengers have no face masks. These vehicles can operate at 100% capacity on condition that all passengers are wearing either surgical masks or N95 respiratory masks.
“A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers is limited to carry a maximum of seven passengers. Minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers is limited to carry the maximum of 10. A minibus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 is limited to carry maximum 15 passengers. All minibuses and midibus taxi vehicles are permitted to load their maximum passenger loading capacity as provided for, in their operating licenses, provided that all passengers are wearing masks.”