A new taxi service has been started to ferry nurses and other essential health-care staff to their workplaces and homes and Covid-19 patients to quarantine facilities.
The Red Dot Service, a joint initiative by provincial government and the minibus taxi industry, was launched at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell on Monday. So far, 100 minibus taxis have been marked with red dot logos, identifying them as part of the service.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said he had been swamped with calls from nurses, in particular, complaining that they couldn’t get transport home after 7pm because of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The chartered-transport service was born after he approached the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) Western Cape, seeking its help.
Ashwin Devries, of Strandfontein, works for an Ottery-based fleet-management firm that is now cleaning the Red Dot taxis. According to Mr Devries, they use a mixture of bleach, alcohol, pneumonia and water, giving special attention to steering wheel, gear stick, indicators, window and door handles and other parts of the vehicle that people touch a lot.
Santaco spokesman Gershon Geyer said the Red Dot service would help the taxi drivers who had been struggling during the Covid-19 outbreak. The drivers would work on a roster and report at the college from 8am. All vehicles would be dispatched from the college to where they were needed.
From Monday June 1, taxi drivers would also be ferrying those infected with Covid-19 to quarantine facilities, said Mr Geyer, adding that they expected to be very busy.
Department of Transport and Public Works spokesperson Jandré Bakker said the service for health-care staff only catered currently to those needing to travel during curfew hours when public transport wasn’t available.