Home News Social distancing impossible on overcrowded bus – commuters

Social distancing impossible on overcrowded bus – commuters

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The manager of the bus service indicated that it was difficult to predict how many passengers would require transport on any given day.

Picture: Supplied

COMMUTERS making use of a bus service travelling between Ritchie and Kimberley have indicated that the buses are overloaded and that social distancing measures cannot be observed.

The passengers said that there was only one bus transporting commuters from Pelindaba and Rietvale to and from Ritchie and Kimberley.

“Before the lockdown, there were two buses. Now we all have to squash ourselves into one bus along with the schoolchildren. While we are all required to wear face masks, the risk of cross-infection of Covid-19 is higher because of the close proximity of commuters,” said commuters on Monday.

They added that up to 30 percent of the occupants were expected to stand for the duration of the journey.

“In the event of an accident, insurance will not pay out because there are no seat belts. There were not enough seats for all the passengers on the bus this (Monday) morning. We have to catch the 6.30am bus in order to arrive on time for work in Kimberley.”

The commuters added that the bus was even more overloaded on the trip home.

“It is about R130 per week to travel on the bus while a taxi costs R25 per trip, so we cannot afford to travel by taxi.”

The manager of the bus service indicated that it was difficult to predict how many passengers would require transport on any given day.

“The bus is not filled to capacity every day. On Monday an unexpected number of grant recipients wanted to travel to Kimberley and we had to accommodate them. There were cash payments and also commuters who usually do not make use of the bus on a regular basis that we could not leave behind,” the manager said.

He added that they would monitor the situation and assess whether more buses would be needed in the future.

The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Rennie van Wyk, stated that public transport service providers are allowed to operate at a 100 percent load capacity during Level 1 of the lockdown for trips under 200 kilometres.

“All passengers in public transport must wear a face mask or a cloth that covers the nose and mouth,” said Van Wyk.

He warned that under no circumstances was overloading permitted.

“The department will engage with the company to enquire about the number of buses operating on the Ritchie-Kimberley route.

“We encourage commuters to continue to report non-compliance from the public transport sector.”

Van Wyk stated that sufficient hand sanitisers were provided to all public transport operators to ensure compliance with the regulations.

“We expect all public transport operators to comply with the regulations under Level 1 of the risk-adjusted strategy,” he said.