Members of the South African Taxi Owners Association say the government allows them to carry passengers up to 70% of their vehicles’ capacities. This means a 16-seater bus may carry 11 people, including the driver.
However, the taxi drivers look to the government to supply sanitisers and masks, as the government has promised.
Also, an eye witness report confirmed that some taxi drivers flout the rule of not more than 70% of the vehicle’s capacity, but the Gauteng spokesperson for taxi owners said on Radio 702 this morning, such disobedience is not a welcome development.
The taxi owners seek help from government to subside their loses as business has dropped seriously due to lockdown and social distancing now operational in South Africa.
Another dilemma, commuters face is observing social distancing as there could hardly be a 2- meter space observable inside taxis.
However, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has defended the department’s decision to relax regulations and allow taxis to operate for more than eight hours a day.
He said the regulations were revised after the department assessed the “material conditions” of commuters and taxi operators affected by the clampdown on travelling during the 21-day lockdown.
The original regulations had reduced the loading capacity of taxis to 50%, but were revised following consultations between the taxi industry and the department.