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Long-distance buses ignoring Covid-19 regulations


MEC has called on law enforcement to pull non-compliant buses off the road

MEC Jacob Mamabolo inspects a bus during a roadblock on the N1, near the Pumulani Toll Plaza. Picture: Jacques Naude / African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – The long-distance bus industry has not fared well with regards to compliance with road safety and Covid-19 protocols.

Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Road Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo said that after inspecting buses in the city it was found that the operators were not limiting loading capacity like their taxi counterparts. He said that many buses were also found to be unroadworthy.

They also failed to follow Covid-19 regulations to satisfactory levels by allowing overcrowding, and there was a lack of social distancing at loading bays, while passengers could also be found inside buses without masks.

Mamabolo said law enforcement should pull non-compliant buses off the road.

He said the department was engaging the Passenger Railway of Agency of SA (Prasa) as the landlord of long-distance bus firms to raise these concerns.

He said: “We have agreed that Prasa must enforce the Covid-19 protocols into the contract they have with their tenants.

“In fact, Prasa has already assured me that it going to summon all the bus operators and read the contract to them to ensure that they comply and protect commuters.

“Action will be taken and we are going to agree that moving forward, we are going to agree that bus operators that show complete disregard for road safety and Covid-19 protocols must be terminated because they are putting lives of people at risk.

“Prasa will be enforcing its authority as the landlord and I’ll be monitoring that because I strongly, strongly condemn what they have been doing.”

Mamabolo said some of these bus companies were monopolies dominating the bus industry, but were not at all showing any regard for human life.

“That is completely wrong and we must condemn this. They must comply. They can’t just take money but when people come to board the bus they don’t care about social distancing and sanitising hands.

“Even inside the buses we find that some of them exceed the 70% load capacity. To that extent, Prasa will be enforcing compliance,” he said.

Mamabolo added that many people have always thought the taxi industry has been the biggest culprits, but he recently learned that the buses are one of the biggest culprits as well.

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