The limited operating hours that have been offered as an option for minibus taxis will now also be allowed for e-haling services such as Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify).
My Broadband reports that an Uber spokesperson has confirmed that their ride-sharing service will be available on a limited basis during lockdown but their food delivery service Uber Eats will not.
“In accordance with the measures announced by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on 25 March 2020 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Uber will still be able to operate daily across South Africa between 5am to 9am and 4pm to 8pm, during the 21-day national lockdown for essential travel only,” Uber told the publication.
“We remain in close contact with local public health authorities and will continue to follow their guidance to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19. The health and safety of our community come first, and we will do our best to support drivers, our community and essential staff during these unprecedented times.”
The company also reminded that riders who use the service for non-essential travel that they are responsible for arranging the required documentation authorising their travel.
This message will be communicated with customers via the app along with other safety recommendations about suggested travel restrictions and social distancing. The messages will also be shared via email and on Uber’s social media channels.
The company reassured its customers that drivers who may end up testing positive for Covid-19 or may be placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority are eligible for financial assistance from the company for a period of up to 14 days.
In an interview on 702’s Eusebius McKaiser Show, Mbalula had previously said e-hailing services and metered taxis would not be allowed to operate during this period but minibus taxis would continue to do so during morning and afternoon peak hours.
“A lockdown is a lockdown, but there will be special catering for public transport, we will deal with the details later on in terms of taxis. We’re looking at allocating time for the operation of taxis in the morning peak and in the afternoon. During the day it will be lockdown,” the minister said.
However, Mbalula added that trains would not operate, and also not ships in harbours during the lockdown.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)