Jobs created as social distancing is enforced on Rea Vaya buses

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula visited the Rea Vaya bus operation in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula visited the Rea Vaya bus operation in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has paid a second visit to the Rea Vaya bus service to ensure commuters are adhering to Covid-19 safety regulations.

“We are happy that there is compliance with regards to the buses and social distancing. This is our new way of doing things,” he said.

Mbalula visited the Rea Vaya Dobsonville depot on Thursday morning after receiving complaints from citizens that the bus service was “not complying with social distancing on buses”.

After meeting the managers, it was agreed that Rea Vaya would address the issue “immediately”.

During his visit to the depot, Mbalula was taken on a "compliance tour".

The bus service's spokesperson Benny Makgoga told those in attendance that buses parked at the depot were washed and sanitised with a chemical that lasted 24 hours.

Makgoga said buses were being washed twice a day by at least 60 staff members.

“This way we also created more jobs.”

Makgoga said the buses were sanitised before passengers entered, and at drop-off points.

“No mask, no ride. Passengers are also being checked at the stations to see if they have permits.”

At the stations there were demarcations a metre apart to help people keep their distance.

Inside the buses, one seat in every row was marked with a red “no sitting” cross.

“There is now one passenger for every two seats.

Mbalula and other officials then travelled in two buses to the Gauteng legislature where he briefed the media.

“We must ensure that our transport system is compliant. Transport can either be a transmitter of good health or it can be a transmitter of coronavirus.”

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo said he would be meeting Mbalula’s office to address the “capacity and other problems” they had.

“Our communities don’t understand because they want to enter the buses in numbers and it is causing social distancing problems.”

Makhubo said they had since received help from the metro police to ensure compliance.