Tips for using public transport during the coronavirus pandemic

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In partnership with the Solidarity Fund. 

The first few months of Lockdown this year felt like a year compacted into three months.The coronavirus pandemic took over our lives in every aspect. But as the economy started opening up again, people went back to work. This meant we got back onto buses and started taking taxis again. Just because restrictions eased up we always need to be vigilant and maintain social distancing. Here are a few tips to keep safe when using public transport. 

Don’t be a moegoe only go out for essential items. Order online if possible. 

If you have to leave home, plan your trip. Figure out where you are going and limit your stops. If possible, try to keep your time outside of home short. Run your errands with a checklist and a purpose. Mask up, over your mouth and nose before leaving home. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before leaving home. Most uber drivers offer sanitiser, but remember to keep sanitiser with you at all times. Remember your sanitiser must be made up of over  60% alcohol to be effective. 

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Apply sanitiser in the vehicle. Make sure the windows are open. If you are using an e-hailing service like Uber or Bolt, sit in the rear seat diagonally across from the driver. Check that your driver has their mask on properly. Use cashless payments if possible. The Uber app saves all your trips, so in the event you need to refer back to your travelling it is all there in the palm of your hand. 

Now when it comes to minibus taxis and buses it gets more tricky. Other folks will be in the bus or taxi with you. You will be waiting at a bus stop, so keep about two arms length between yourself and others. Once you get into the bus, pay your fare, find a seat and sanitise again. Same applies to taxis. It seems a bit much, but vigilance is key. Practice respiratory etiquette; keep your mask on when you want to cough or sneeze and remember to do so into your elbow. Speak up to the driver or guard if they are not maintaining distances in their vehicles.  It will be daunting, but this is for your and others health and safety. Avoid touching any surfaces. The windows should be open. If not open them, then sanitise. 

Once you reach your destination, sanitise again. Remember by planning your trip in advance, you can avoid potentially crowded buses and taxis. Give yourself enough time to be able to let buses and taxis pass you by that you don’t feel comfortable travelling in. Try to travel in non-peak hours too, so as to avoid potentially overcrowded buses and taxis. There are risks beyond the coronavirus like accidents to be mindful of too. Where possible take a picture of the public transport vehicle’s registration plate. With all the delays the coronavirus has brought on, something as minor as an image can speed things up.

The Coronovirus has taught us to adapt, as life has to go on. So when using public transport; wear a mask properly, open a window, avoid touching surfaces, sanitise, maintain social distancing, practise respiratory etiquette and be vigilant. We can all get through this together by adhering to safety protocols.  

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