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MANZINI - Public transport operators have taken steps to restrict the movement of people during the country’s partial lockdown by parking a majority of their vehicles and only transporting essential services providers in the morning and afternoon.

The steps taken by the public transport operators, who include bus and kombi owners, together with taxi operators were announced by the National Road Transport Council (NRTC) Chairman Sihlangu Nhlabatsi during a press conference yesterday. The press conference was held at the Swaziland Local Transport Association (SLTA) offices in Manzini.

The chairman said public transport operators through the NRTC and in consultation with stakeholders, had studied the statement from government regarding the partial lockdown. He said they resolved to work hand-in-hand with the country in curbing the pandemic.

On that note, he said due to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advice about social distancing, that people should be at least a metre apart, which was not possible in the transport modes available in the country, they had decided to partially suspend passenger transportation. He said this would be effective from the start of the announced partial lockdown, which is tonight.

He said only a few public transport vehicles would be available during the period. He said it would be available for people who offered essential services and those who urgently required moving from one point to another, especially for medical purposes, as per government’s directive.


The chairman said this would be done on rotational basis by operators and at stipulated times which would be in the morning and afternoon only. He said they were already working on a schedule to ensure transparent rotation of the vehicles.
However, he mentioned that the availability of the vehicles in the morning and afternoon, was subject to review because if government felt there was a need for transport during the day, they would provide it.

“The vehicles ferrying passengers will have to observe the directive from the country’s authorities which will involve the allowable metre distance between passengers,” the chairman said.
Furthermore, he added that the vehicles would also have disinfectants to disinfect passengers at all times.
He said they would also ensure that the vehicles were clean and disinfected at all times.

The chairman also mentioned that additional public transport vehicles would always be on standby to assist on any essential movement whenever required to do so by government or any organisation that would be trying to curb the pandemic.

On that note, he kindly requested their fellow customers to observe all precautionary measures and assist the public transport workers in their quest to move the country around. He said they should be clean when they left their homes, try to carry money that would not require change and make sure they had eaten something.

“Those who might not feel well should indicate so that they can be provided with masks,” the chairman said.
He emphasised that most public transport vehicles would be parked and he advised members of the public that it would be wise to stay home since the partial lockdown was not a time for vacations.

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