Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula conducted an inspection of the Rea Vaya transit system in Soweto, Johannesburg on Thursday 14 May. He said that more could be done to enforce COVID-19 safety precautions for commuters and operators.
“More will have to be done to adhere to regulations in the City of Joburg. I’m am happy with the scanners that sanitize and check the temperature,” he said.
Mbalula said that if Rea Vaya does not take the regulations seriously, government will shut down the transit system and disallow the movement of transport there.
The minister was joined by Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo.
MBALULA STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Mbalula said the department is under no illusion about the importance of public transport in enabling social mobility and access to centres of economic activity.
“Bus rapid transit systems such as Rea Vaya play a very critical [role] in enabling such mobility. The strategic role of transport as an enabler of mobility for people, also means it is a high-risk sector for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” said Mbalula.
“We are therefore committed to ensuring that our public transport system does not aid the spread of the virus, by enforcing strict adherence to the disinfection, sanitizing and social distancing norms,” he added.
INSPECTION AT REA VAYA
Mbalula said the inspection of the measures the City of Johannesburg has put in place to ensure Rea Vaya operations are safe includes the daily disinfection of buses at the depot in Dobsonville.
The disinfection of stations at regular intervals is equally important to ensure that surfaces people come into contact with when waiting to board a bus are free of the virus.
According to Jacaranda FM, Mbalula said this is the new way of life.
“I’m not happy with the execution which is what after this meeting we’ll meet with people who are running these buses so that we ensure there are marshals on these buses and in the stations so that people are able to keep the social distancing,” he said.
“Inside the bus, people are sitting too close to each other and that is what is happening. The seating arrangement is too close, there’s got to be 70% or less,” added Mbalula.
SOCIAL DISTANCING IS CRUCIAL
According to Mbalula, restrictions for Level 4 require that every passenger must wear a mask and we are happy that our law enforcement officers are diligent in ensuring that public transport users adhere to this rule.
“Social distancing is an important part of ensuring that people are transported safely in our buses. Adherence to social distancing norms must find expression at all customer touchpoints and be enforced diligently. This includes strict compliance with the 70% limit to licensed passenger capacity at all times,” said Mbalula.