Alert Level 3: Transport state of readiness
As the nation enters Alert Level 3 today, demand for public transport services is expected to increase significantly compared to usage during Alert Level 4.
Large parts of the economy are reopening and many people are returning to work.
It is critically important to ensure all transport operators and industries follow the Regulations and Directives issued by National Government which stipulate how public transport and industries should operate during this period.
I must emphasis for all public transport operators and passengers that social distancing remains key if we are to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As announced the reopening of schools and the return of certain students to some institutions of higher learning this month require us to put measures in place to enable safe movement of learners, students and the higher number of people returning to work.
The Western Cape is expecting about 250 000 public transport users to go back to work starting from today. This is an estimated 53% capacity of our daily commute under normal circumstances.
The time restrictions on all transport modes have been lifted. Public transport is now available to transport citizens throughout the day.
However, loading capacity restrictions remain as follow:
- Bus services: Restricted to carrying 50% of licensed capacity
- Metered taxi and e-hailing services: Restricted to carrying 50% of licensed capacity
- Minibus and midibus taxi services: Restricted to carrying 70% of licensed capacity
- Staff and charter transport: Restrictions dependent on the vehicle type – 50% if bus, 70% if midibus or minibus. If provided directly be the employer, then it is considered private transport and subject to the 60% restriction.
- Private vehicles: Restricted to carrying 60% of licensed capacity
To ensure that public transport is as safe as possible, hand sanitiser must be available at public transport facilities and, ideally on board, drivers and marshals must wear a mask, and vehicles must be cleaned regularly. This applies to buses, minibus taxis, metered taxi and e-hailing services. Passengers are also required to wear a mask when they are in public and using public transport.
I encourage public transport users to report non-compliance in public transport by dialing our free USSD quick code *134*234#. Passengers are given an opportunity to report whether the vehicle they are driving in is adhering to lockdown loading limits, whether the driver is wearing a mask, whether there is hand sanitiser on board, and whether the vehicle is clean and tidy.
Moving to Level 3 will also result in an increase in the movement of motor vehicles on our roads. This will be exacerbated by the schools reopening and social grants payment this week. The situation will place additional pressure on all law enforcement agencies to regulate and control traffic to ensure safe traffic flow on all major and secondary routes while still adhering to the applicable Disaster Management Regulations.
The decommissioning of all secondary roadblocks within the Metro will enable the deployment of Traffic Officers to focus on planned interventions and public transport which is the primary mode of transport.
Our focus this week will primarily be aligned to our Western Cape Traffic Law Enforcement Tactical Plan 2020/21 and will include:
- Effective high visibility deployment and patrols
- Learner, public transport and freight transport
- Chain Speed enforcement
- Weighbridge activities (Freight transport, Dangerous goods vehicles, RTQS, Illegal movements, screening of loads and Long-distance public transport)
- Alcohol enforcement
- Driver and vehicle fitness
- Moving violations
- Pedestrian enforcement
We will also see the opening of liquor outlets starting from today. Our law enforcement officers will be all over to clamp down on those who will take chances and drive while under the influence of alcohol.
To limit high traffic volume on our roads, I encourage businesses and other institutions to allow employees to work from home wherever possible, allow employees to work flexi-time, shift start and end times for employees to outside of peak travel times where possible.