Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has changed his initialdecision of allowing taxis to carry 70% load of passengers on Wednesday at Noord taxi rank in Johannesburg. This comesafter a meeting he had with the leadership of taxi associations. On Tuesday they had threatened to strike over the lockdown regulations.
Mbalula announced the new amendment of allowing taxis to carry full passenger loads during the national lockdown on condition that all passengers wore masks. This comes a day after he assured the nation that there will be no national taxi strike.
“During the lockdown period, all Minibus and Midi-bus taxi vehicles are permitted to load their maximum 100% passenger loading capacity. As provided for in their operating licenses, provided that all passengers are wearing masks,” said Mbalula
He added that all taxis must make sure that masks are available for their commuters.
“We require public transport operators to adhere to the directiveon sanitizing vehicles and put measures in place to give effect to social distancing at all material times. The masks must be of the following categories surgical masks or N95 respiratory masks,” said Mbalula.
He applauded the taxi industry for their cooperation in curbingthe spread of Covid-19.
“I must commend the taxi industry for their efforts and commitment to playing their part in enabling mobility of the poor and vulnerable in these trying times. Despite the economic challenges facing the industry, we were able to reach an agreement that guarantees continuous availability of public transport,” said Mbalula.
He concluded and said that the country would hold a taxi industry indaba later this year as part of its long-term plan.
“In our engagements, the taxi industry placed on the table critical issues, some of which we have processed while others remain work in progress. The National Taxi Indaba will be held later in the year, to address a number of critical economic issues confronting the industry” said Mbalula.