GEORGE NEWS - Before starting to work from home, journalist intern Anesipho Gala used public transport to and from the George Herald newsroom in the industrial area every day. What she saw was shocking to say the least.
"Taking public transport in these abnormal times is an anxious experience for many commuters. Seeing the lack of hygiene in taxis and people's careless attitude toward the coronavirus is scary.
"Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 in George, I have been walking around in a cloud of fear. Maybe the person standing next to me is infected, or maybe I'll contract the virus by touching some innocent-looking, but contaminated surface. I could be infected any time!
"Imagine my experience travelling to work last week. I'm sitting in a taxi with more than ten people and only two windows are open. There's no social distancing and money passes hand several times from the back of the taxi to the driver.
Then people get off that taxi to take the bus. Now this is where you expect better hygiene standards, but no.
"When I get to the bus terminal, precious few drivers wear masks. Horrified I watch them accept money from commuters with their bare hands. I watch people press the stop button to request their next stop, holding onto the rail as they get off the bus, and the next person does the same, as do the next and the next and the next...
"There doesn't seem to be any awareness of the risk they're putting themselves in. Scary. During peak hours things just get worse - same routine, bigger crowd, sweaty this time round - and everyone is rushing home, seemingly without any thought given to taking health precautions.
"At this point in the virus crisis, commuters should expect hygiene standards in public transport to be a lot better, especially in the Go George buses where there is a little more control than in the taxis.
"One expects the drivers to make sure that the passengers sanitise their hands before getting on the bus, tapping their cards or handing over money, and to not allow the bus to fill up to the extent that there are people standing. What happened to social distancing?
"On Monday, the Western Cape Minister of Transport, Bonginkosi Madikizela, visited the Go George depot to view the mitigating measures taken against Covid-19 and inspect the roll-out of Phase 4B. The show was impressive. The drivers were wearing masks and gloves, and buses were being fully sprayed inside and out with sanitiser at the Go George depot.
"But on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was back to business - the careless way."
'We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news'