There has been some confusion as to what is allowed in terms of public transport, and what is not. While it seems that the rules and regulations are made up as we go along, the government issued a FAQ regarding transportation in public.
The FAQ published is below:
- ARE FAMILY MEMBERS ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO OTHER PROVINCES TO ATTEND A FUNERAL OF A CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER?
No, you may not travel to another province to attend the funeral of a close family member during the lockdown. However, the Minister of Transport is currently reviewing these regulations which may change in future.
- WHAT DO THE REGULATIONS SAY ABOUT MINIBUS TAXIS TRANSPORTING ESSENTIAL WORKERS OR PEOPLE GOING TO BUY GROCERIES?
During the lockdown period, minibus taxis and buses may transport essential services workers and passengers who need to travel for groceries, medical treatment, medication or access banking services. These public transport service will however only be available between 05h00 to 10h00 and 16h00 to 20h00.
- HOW DO THE REGULATIONS CATER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO ACCESS SOCIAL GRANTS?
From Monday, 30 March 2020 until Friday, 3 April 2020, buses and minibus taxis are permitted to operate throughout the day. These modes of public transport will begin from 5am until 8pm to allow for the collection of grants and buying groceries.
- WHAT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED TO PROTECT THOSE WHO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
All owners of public transport must provide adequate sanitisers or other hygiene dispenser for washing of hands of all passengers.
All operators must ensure that public transport vehicles are sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers. All operators must ensure that vehicles’ door and window handles, armrest and hand rails are sanitised. The sanitisers used must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content.
- MAY DRIVERS OF MINIBUS TAXIS AND BUSES LOAD THE MAXIMUM PASSENGER CAPACITY, IF ALL PASSENGERS ARE WEARING MASKS?
No. Minibus taxis and buses may not load the maximum passenger capacity of public transport vehicles. Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has, after careful consideration and in consultation with the taxi industry, rescinded the Direction allowing 100% loading capacity for taxis with immediate effect. Minibus taxis must therefore only apply a 70% loading capacity for public transport vehicles.
- WHAT MEASURES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED TO PROMOTE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
Minibus taxis and buses must reduce their maximum licensed passenger seating capacity to 70%, if passengers are not wearing masks. The follows applies:
(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 7 passengers;
(b) A minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the maximum of 10 passengers;
(c) A midi -bus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.
- WHAT SAFETY MEASURES ARE THERE TO PROTECT DRIVERS AND MARSHALS IN THE MINIBUS TAXI SECTOR?
All drivers must wear a surgical mask or N95 respiratory mask. Any marshal who interacts with members of the public in a public transport facility must wear a mask. All public transport operators are required to put measures in place to adhere to social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.
- WILL METERED TAXIS AND E-HAILING (E.G. UBER) SERVICES BE OPERATIONAL?
These transport services are available to transport essential service workers during the stipulated times of 05h00 to 10h00 and 16h00 to 20h00. However, a vehicle licensed to carry up to four passengers is limited to carrying 50% of their permissible passenger carrying capacity.
- WHAT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS SHOULD METERED TAXIS AND E-HAILING SERVICES IMPLEMENT TO PROTECT PASSENGERS?
These transport services should provide adequate sanitisers or other hygiene dispenser for washing of hands of all passengers. Operators must ensure that their vehicles are sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers. The sanitisers used to sanitise all public transport vehicles must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content. All drivers must wear a surgical mask or N95 respiratory mask.