Relief for passengers as inter-provincial taxis start operating again

29 June 2020 - 11:00
By promise marupeng AND Promise Marupeng
Commuters at Noord Taxi Rank will be crossing provincial borders
Image: Thulani Mbele Commuters at Noord Taxi Rank will be crossing provincial borders

Inter provincial passengers have expressed relief to finally be able to go back to their different home lands as taxis become operational.

In Ekurhuleni, one of the biggest interprovincial ranks based in Daveyton began boarding passengers this morning. Rank master Thulani Ngomane said two taxis had already left transporting 10 passengers each.

"We have began moving our people and we feel relieved to be at their service with their safety our hands,"said Ngomane. Ngomane said the rank service passengers going to Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Malelane, Thohoyandou and other areas in Giyani in Limpopo province. We also have not raised our boarding fees, we are charging R 300 on single trips and we will remain on that price," he said.

Ngomane said they understood that passengers have to face retrenchments and salary cuts with some being unemployed.

Ngomane said they are complying with the regulations and all passengers are required to have their masks on all the time.

"We also have sanitisers in all our vehicles for constant sanitising of the drives and passengers," he said. Ngomane also said the passengers will be washing their hands on all half way stops and using sanitisers. "We also encourage passengers to practice caution and carry their own sanitisers and also open windows on the road."

One of the passengers, Eunice Mbatha, who was found boarding a taxi to Mpumalanga, said she could not wait to get home.

"I was stuck here for three months and I had left my son with a neighbour because I'm busy with my grade R teaching course in Gauteng," said Mbatha. Mbatha said leaving her son all these months was very stressful. "He is only seven years old and I was worried. I had to send my neighbour money for his food and essentials because I could not come home," Mbatha said.

Another passenger, Lorraine Makhubela, said she was excited to meet her grandparents after not being able to visit them since the beginning of the lockdown.

"I last went home in February and I was frustrated because I'm very fond of my family. I am studying in Pretoria… I am finally going home to see my cousins and siblings."

Taxi operators said despite the action being illegal to transport commuters, they have heard enough of not making money. Samuel Mkatshwa, a long-distance driver, said they decided as drivers that they would load passengers and work to feed their families because the minister had no solid plan for their pockets.

"This is my bread and many other drivers, so as long as we follow the Covid-19 compliance for safety in boarding passengers, we see no need why we shouldn't work. People need to move around with our services and we eat from that."