Lockdown: Public transport hours extended for social grant recipients

Buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 05:00 until 20:00 in order to cater to the transportation needs of society's most vulnerable.
Buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 05:00 until 20:00 in order to cater to the transportation needs of society's most vulnerable. (Felix Dlangamandla)

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has extended the hours during which public transport services are allowed to operate to accommodate social grant recipients.

"Effective from tomorrow, 30 March 2020, until Friday, 3 April 2020, buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 05:00 until 20:00 in order to cater to the transportation needs of society's most vulnerable. The exercise of social distance by all those using public transport must be observed and enforced.  We will issue further directions in this regard," Mbalula said in a statement.

During the lockdown, public transport services are only allowed to operate between 05:00 and 09:00 and again from 16:00 to 20:00.

But the minister said several industry bodies and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu made representations on the issue, following President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that social grants would be paid from Monday.

"Having considered Minister Zulu's request and representations made by various industry bodies, including the taxi industry, I have decided to amend the public transport directions in order to accommodate grant beneficiaries," he said.

SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) spokesperson Ralph Jones said the extension of the operating hours was a relief for their industry.

The taxi association tweeted about the issue to update passengers.

Social grant recipients have been urged to carry their IDs and SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards to assist law enforcement efforts.

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