Drivers and passengers relieved after walk-in sanitiser is installed at taxi rank

Everyday when Musa Mkhize leaves home to start his day of transporting commuters to their destination, he asks God to spare his life from Covid-19.

However, there was a sigh of relief as Mkhize watched his taxi being disinfected yesterday at the Randburg taxi rank.

This was during SA National Taxi Council's (Santaco) launch of their programme to intensify the disinfection of taxis to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Randburg became the first rank to have a sanitising booth at its entrances.

The rank and the taxis were disinfected and there were also sanitising machines for passengers to use.

Mkhize, who drives between Bree rank in the Johannesburg city centre and Randburg, said their safety was not guaranteed as they transported anyone who needed the service.

"I am very happy about the disinfection of taxis especially the machines at the entrance to sanitise passengers."

Another taxi driver, Sizwe Mchunu, said they always see in the news the number of people who are killed by coronavirus. "I was always concerned about my safety because I have a family to take care of. I am happy to see that something is being done to protect us from the virus," he said.

The launch was also a relief for passengers as well. Duduzile Shabalala, 49, said the sanitising booth and machines were a good idea as there was a lot of movement at the taxi rank.

"No one knows who has the virus or not. I think such measures will put many people at ease," Shabalala said.

Sizwe Skosana from Sigma Medical Group vouched for the effectiveness of the walk-in disinfecting unit. "This machine is 100% water-based, and it kills [virus] on contact. We are in partnership with Santaco and these machines will be seen at all the taxi ranks across the province," he said.

Also attending the launch was the MEC for public transport and roads infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo. He said government wanted to make sure passengers wore masks inside taxis.

"In this province we will be very strict when it comes to the wearing of masks. If people don't have masks they should not be allowed to commute. As the department in the province we are going to go to taxi ranks to make sure these [sanitising] innovations are introduced. Taxi ranks should also be kept clean. No taxi should be a carrier of coronavirus, every taxi must be cleaned before and after every trip," Mamabolo said.

Buti Mkhonza, chairperson of Santaco, said: "We are excited about the donations from private companies and the help from the provincial government.

There is a lot of movement at taxi ranks... these will help."

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