GEORGE NEWS - Public transport has reverted back to reduced lockdown hours after the five days of increased service allowed to accommodate Sassa beneficiaries travelling to town to draw their grant money.
The grace period came to an end last Friday, 3 April, at 21:00, and the Go George bus service and taxis are now covering morning and afternoon peak hours only.
The Minister of Transport, Fikele Mbulula, has however made certain adjustments that allow buses and taxis to operate from 05:00 to 10:00 and again from 16:00 to 21:00. Taxis may now also be 70% full instead of 50%.
According to the Go George Facebook page, their service schedule from 4 April will be as follows:
• Morning peak: 05:00 - 10:00, departing every 30 minutes. First buses will depart from 05:00, with last buses departing at 09:00 from departure points in Pacaltsdorp, Parkdene, Rosemoor and Blanco, and 09:30 from the CBD.
• Afternoon peak: 16:00 - 20:00, departing every 30 minutes. First buses will depart from 16:00, with last buses departing at 19:00 from departure points in Pacaltsdorp, Parkdene, Rosemoor and Blanco, and 19:30 from the CBD.
According to a statement from the ministry of transport, public transport operating hours return to the morning and afternoon peak times, with slight amendments, as follows:
• 04:00 - 05:00 empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters
• 05:00 - 10:00 taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity
• 10:00 - 11:00 buffer: all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked
• 15:00 - 16:00 empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters
• 16:00 - 20:00 taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity
• 20:00 - 21:00 buffer: all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked.
George chairperson of Uncedo taxi association, Wselele Mbudede, told George Herald on Tuesday that they respect the latest regulations. He added that there are still some challenges, for example the shortage of face masks for passengers in taxis.
He stressed that the taxi industry is losing a lot of money and would like Government to help. Asked about speculation that the lockdown may be extended beyond 16 April, he said it would be helpful if Government could give an indication about the situation.
Xolisani Booi, chairman of the George Community Forum, said he spoke to taxi owners over the past few days. Most of them have parked their taxis in their garages. The situation caught them badly and it is really bad for the industry.
"It is not economically viable for them to operate any more." He is also of the opinion that Government needs to help the industry.
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