Taxi bosses surprise drivers with Covid-19 inspection
Association warns drivers to wear masks and sanitise, or face penalties from Monday
Taxi bosses within the Norwich Taxi Association held a roadblock on Old Uitenhage Road in Gqeberha on Thursday morning, inspecting their taxis for Covid-19 compliance.
This follows many complaints by commuters that taxi drivers and fare collectors were not adhering to level 4 lockdown regulations as well as other traffic violations on routes between Kleinskool and Missionvale townships.
Commuter Lizeka Mfundisi from Missionvale works as a security guard in Cleary Park Shopping Mall and uses taxis everyday. “These taxi drivers gamble with our lives,” she said. “They don’t take Covid-19 seriously [and don’t wear masks]. Their taxis are always overloaded. They even put planks in between the seats to make more space. Three passengers sit next to the driver.”
Zezethu Matwa from Govan Mbeki township said, “Taxi drivers and fare collectors only care about money rather than safety. I am happy today to see the rank marshalls and officials enforcing the Covid-19 regulations.”
Christopher Marlow who works as a Missionvale rank marshall and is also secretary of Norwich Taxi Association confirmed that they decided to do the inspection and awareness drive after receiving the complaints. “We discovered that in many taxis, there were no sanitisers, drivers and taxi fare collectors were also not wearing masks. We forced them to take sanitisers and masks from us immediately, and also to wear them when performing their duties,” said Marlow.
During the peak traffic, taxis leave ranks overloaded and use shortcuts to avoid law enforcement agencies, said Marlow.
Ryno Plaatjies, association chairperson, said they will have an urgent meeting with all the taxi owners to decide on the penalty to be imposed against anyone found not complying. “The penalties will start by next Monday. There is no way we can let reckless drivers and owners gamble with people’s lives. The safety of our passengers comes first,” he said.
In response to questions about compliance by taxi operators, Khuselwa Rantjie, provincial Department of Transport spokesperson said, “We have noted a general compliance with the regulations with respect to wearing masks and opening windows in public transport vehicles. As a department we continue to encourage operators and commuters to comply with the non clinical methods of managing the spread of Covid-19.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron urged people to report incidents of non-compliance to police and metro officers at 10111.
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