WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING
On 08 April 2020 the Department of Health published an article that explain the notion of social distancing. Throughout that article (https://sacoronavirus.co.za/2020/04/08/social-distancing/), the responsibility for social distancing is left for each and every individual. What most people do not realise is that nearly impossible to police social distances especially when grownups themselves do not comply.
On Tuesday bus 4069 was stoned by disgruntled passengers because the driver would not load as the bus had reached its permissible loading capacity. Passengers also forced themselves inside bus 4049 at W section in Botshabelo. What social media does not show, are these passengers that storm the buses, many of whom do not even bother paying for the service.
IBL gave away free masks to its passengers but despite that, photos on social media still depicts images of passengers not wearing masks inside the bus. Many passengers complain that some passengers still sing and conduct church services inside the buses. There is only so much that government can do for us, at some point we will have to take responsibility of our actions. It is impossible for IBL to provide security personnel to police adults who refuse to adhere to regulations, health and safety protocols widely communicated.
IMPACT OF 50% LOADING CAPACITY
Public transport in particular buses are only permitted to load 50% of its total capacity, this is the same as was during level 5 lockdown but we are on level 3 with more passengers. Most of the industries and sectors that are allowed to operate rely on “limited” public transport for transport. In the morning of Tuesday 02 June 2020, IBL buses carried nearly 12000 passengers and strict application of the 50% capacity as demanded means effectively nearly 3000 passengers. This is an angle that social media does not portray. Social media is not the enemy here but what it does not emphasize is individual responsibility to get into an overloaded bus or not to and decide to expose oneself to risk. When the President said “It is in your hands” he was referring exactly to a situation of this nature, where the individual must make the call.
ACTIONS TAKEN BY IBL
- Social media awareness campaign emphasizing on correct procedures of wearing masks.
- Radio, SMS and Central Park TV screen messages of compliance to Covid-19 protocols.
- Giving free masks as a means to limit the transmission of the pandemic.
- Operated its full fleet to try and meet the demand.
- Addressed a letter to the Minister of Transport to intervene and revisit the limitations on public transport.
- Displayed no less than three stickers on each bus to emphasize Covid-19 protocols including keeping social distance.
- Sanitising of buses between trips.
- Provision of sanitizers at ranking facilities and inside buses.