Non-compliance in public transport puts passengers at risk
Media release by Bonginkosi Madikizela Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
This morning I visited Nyanga taxi rank which has been identified as one of the hotspot areas from which is received a significant number of non-compliance complaints concerning public transport.
Loading restrictions, hygiene and social distancing in public transport remain key focusses of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the national lockdown.
Under Alert Level 3, minibus taxis and midibuses may carry only 70% of the number of people they are usually licensed to carry. A midibus licensed to carry 23 people may carry only the driver and 15 passengers. A minibus taxi licensed to carry 16 people may carry only the driver and 10 passengers. A minibus taxi licensed to carry 11 people may carry only the driver and 7 passengers.
I would like to thank the passengers who are already using our system to report non-compliance by dialing *134*234# to let the Department of Transport and Public Works know what kind of public transport vehicle they are travelling on, whether the vehicle is adhering to lockdown loading limits, whether the driver is wearing a mask, whether there is hand sanitiser on board, and whether the vehicle is clean and tidy.
Since the launch of the USSD on 27 April, we have completed 595 responses from passengers. 458 responses are related to minibus taxis while 384 responses indicated that public transport vehicles loaded more than the 70% loading capacity. 35% of the responses indicated the availability of santisers.
I reminded taxi drivers again that under Alert Level 3 minibus taxis must still load 70% capacity. Some are loading as if its business as usual. I warned those who do not comply with the loading regulations that there are consequences to ignoring these regulations.
I will be visiting more taxi ranks to make sure everyone complies and to continue to raise awareness. I am engaging the local authority to use the transport enforcement unit for more capacity so that we can assist our traffic officers to enforce the law. We mean business. People must understand that if they don’t comply with the regulations they are putting the lives of passengers at risk.
COVID-19 is here and will be with us for a long time. The only defence we have against the coronavirus is our behavior. The lockdown will come to an end at some point and we must continue to practise social distancing, wear our masks and sanitise our hands. Social distancing on our public transport systems is crucial. Transport is ranked high as one of the systems vulnerable to transmitting the virus. Our role as government is to ensure we enforce the law to keep our public transport users safe.