Home South African Mbalula reverses decision on 100% capacity for minibus taxis after outcry

Mbalula reverses decision on 100% capacity for minibus taxis after outcry

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The load capacity will now be 70%.

Cape Town – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has had to backtrack on his decision to allow taxis to load passengers to 100% capacity.

Following an outcry about the safety of commuters, Mbalula said in a statement last night he had reverted to the regulation which stipulates a 70% loading capacity for minibus taxis.

“After our announcement of catering for 100% (capacity), there was a public outcry about the impact of such an arrangement to the health and safety of public transport users,” he said.  

“We took these issues seriously and engaged with key stakeholders, resulting in a consensus of maximising the loading capacity to 70%…

“We urge the taxi industry to accept these declared measures. New ministerial directions to this effect will be published in due course for immediate implementation.

“We further urge members of the public and taxi operators to take preventative measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus.

“Government will undertake a programme to assist with the distribution of the masks. We also urge operators to continue to sanitise the taxi surfaces and to provide hand sanitisers to the public.”

Now, 15-seater taxis are only allowed to ferry 10 people at a time and minibuses with a 22-seater capacity are limited to a maximum of 15 passengers.

In an amended regulation on Tuesday night, minibus taxis and midibuses had been permitted to have a 100% loading capacity, on condition all passengers wear either surgical masks or N95 respirators, which have both long been sold out in the country.

With no masks, the maximum licensed passenger seating capacity for minibus and midibus taxis was 70%. This was up from a maximum usage of 50% or less that was put in place on March 26.

The new regulations stated:

(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers is limited to carry a maximum of 7 passengers; 

(b) A minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers is limited to carry the maximum of 10 passengers; 

(c) A midibus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.

Taxis are still required to sanitise their vehicles before picking up any passengers, using a sanitiser with an alcohol content of no less than 60%.

All public transport operators must also put measures in place to adhere to social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

Light motor vehicles were previously limited to only one passenger plus the driver. This was updated to allow for “50% of their permissible passenger carrying capacity”, effectively allowing for two passengers and a driver per vehicle.

Buses with a capacity of more than 22 passengers remain banned, unless used to ferry essential personnel to and from work. The ban also applies to long-distance transport that crosses provincial boundaries.

Cape Times