Hand sanitisers could be dispensed at minibus taxi ranks under Cape Town’s plan to protect public transport passengers from the coronavirus.
Standing room on MyCiTi buses will be limited to half the normal number of passengers, where possible, to maintain “social distance”, the city council’s mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase, said on Tuesday.
Purchase said new cleaning protocols were being planned for MyCiTi buses. “In the meantime, we advise passengers to avoid full or overcrowded buses as your health and safety come first. We suggest that you rather wait for another bus.”
More frequent deep-cleansing would also be implemented at public transport interchanges and minibus taxi ranks.
Purchase implored minibus taxi commuters, drivers and owners to work closely with city and provincial authorities to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, adding that the provision of hand sanitisers was being investigated.
“The risk of contact among passengers is high in minibus taxis because of the proximity in which people sit next to each other,” she said.
“We ask that passengers put their health first and try to avoid full or overcrowded taxis. Wait for the next taxi if you are concerned about your social distance being compromised. Commuters should also open the windows to ensure better ventilation.”
Taxi passengers should try to have the correct fare in hand to minimise contact with conductors as coins are exchanged.
Purchase said transport minister Fikile Mbalula was in discussion with the South African National Taxi Council and the council would follow his lead.
“However, we appeal to minibus taxi operators to keep their safety and the safety of their customers in mind during this time, and to adapt their business practices accordingly.
“Taxi drivers are reminded to regularly have their taxis cleaned inside out with a disinfecting liquid.”
Purchase said sedan taxi operators had increased vehicle-cleaning schedules and provided drivers with hand sanitisers.
“The metered-taxi and e-hailing industries realise the significant change of behaviour the Covid-19 pandemic demands,” she said.