Sanitising taxis doesn't make us feel safe, say drivers and passengers

Taxis were sanitised at Atteridgville in Pretoria on Tuesday to help curb the spread Covid-19. Passengers were asked to disembark while the vehicles were sanitised inside and out. Drivers and passengers said the measures did not make them feel safer.
Taxis were sanitised at Atteridgville in Pretoria on Tuesday to help curb the spread Covid-19. Passengers were asked to disembark while the vehicles were sanitised inside and out. Drivers and passengers said the measures did not make them feel safer.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

The efficacy of taxi sanitisation was on Tuesday questioned by some passengers and drivers in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, where government had dispatched teams to disinfect public transport vehicles.

Koketso Serena, a taxi driver, said: “I still don’t feel safe as a driver because they are spraying the taxi and I am loading passengers inside. I don’t know who is sick and who is not sick. I don’t have a mask or gloves. They say they are out of stock.” 

Serena said the measures being taken protect the vehicle and not the driver.

“They spray the handles, but  when I load or offload the vehicle is contaminated again. I do not feel safe. They must distribute masks and gloves so that when we load passengers, we can give these to them. It will be simple that way.

“I don’t know if I am sick or not. I come into contact with different people. We just load them without knowing if they are safe.”

Tiyiselani Nthangeni, who is an essential worker and has to commute from Atteridgeville to the Pretoria CBD, said he doesn't feel safe, regardless of the measures being taken.

“Such things are mostly done in the presence of cameras. When there are no cameras they don’t do them. If it was happening every day they should be based at a station, not in the middle of the road.

“Taxis are always offloading and loading people. You might find that the load he came out with from the taxi rank has increased because he has already taken a new load. That is not safe at all,” he said.

North West premier Prof Job Mokgoro distributed protective personal equipment (PPE), sanitisers, gloves and disinfectants to taxi operators in Rustenburg on Tuesday.

The North West government will in total distribute 428 boxes of 100 gloves,  8,140 masks and concentrated disinfectant chemicals which will make more than 300,000 litres when diluted.

The premier reminded all those involved in the taxi industry to adhere to the safety guidelines.

“The coronavirus is not a joke. We would like to appeal to our people to respect restrictions as announced by the government.

“As cumbersome and uncomfortable as it may be, it will save your life and the lives of those around you,” Mokgoro said.


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