Taxi 5am to 8pm grace period comes to an end

From Saturday April 4, taxis and buses will have to return to operating in morning and afternoon peak times only during lockdown

03 April 2020 - 13:30 By Denis Droppa
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announces Covid-19 measures at the Bree Street taxi rank in Johannesburg earlier this week. From Saturday, taxis and buses will have to return to operating in morning and afternoon peak times only.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announces Covid-19 measures at the Bree Street taxi rank in Johannesburg earlier this week. From Saturday, taxis and buses will have to return to operating in morning and afternoon peak times only.
Image: Brenwin Naidu

From Saturday April 4, taxis and buses will have to return to operating in morning and afternoon peak times only as the grace period for social grant recipients comes to an end.

Between March 30 and April 3, public transport vehicles were permitted to operate from 5am until 8pm to accommodate the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable during lockdown. That grace period ends at 9pm on Friday April 3, the transport ministry has announced.

As of April 4, public transport operating hours will be as follows:

  • 4am-5am: Empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters.
  • 5am-10am: Taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity
  • 10am-11am: Buffer; all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked.
  • 3pm-4pm: Empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters.
  • 4pm-8pm: Taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity.
  • 8pm-9pm: Buffer; all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked.

The utilisation of sanitisation products and services as well as the exercise of physical distancing by all those using public transport must continue to be observed and enforced, said transport department spokesperson Ayanda-Alli Paine.

Earlier this week transport minister Fikile Mbalula implemented a controversial order that minibus taxis were allowed to carry a full load as long as all passengers wore masks, but rescinded it just hours later following a public outcry about the potential health impact during the Covid-19 crisis.

Originally the regulations for Covid-19 lockdown prescribed a 50% loading capacity, but Mbalula earlier on Wednesday relaxed the restrictions on public transport vehicles after taxi operators threatened to go on a national strike. He said when passengers didn't wear masks, public transport vehicles were to reduce the number of maximum passengers to 70% of the licensed capacity.

However, all taxis are now subject to a maximum 70% loading capacity, whether or not passengers wear masks.


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