Public transport operators in Bulawayo have scaled up efforts to promote awareness on the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Two cases of COVID-19 have so far been confirmed in Zimbabwe, with one of the patients succumbing to the disease on Monday.
Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) chief executive officer Evaristo Madangwa told CITE in an interview that the transport company will now be limiting the number of standing passengers to fifteen as a means of allowing circulation of air in the bus.
Madangwa said all their vehicles will be sanitised every morning before they start ferrying passengers and in the evening after they knock off.
“We are going to limit passengers who board our buses to only fifteen standing passengers, at least that way there will be free circulation of air as the bus moves. Our buses will be sanitised both inside and outside in the mornings before they start ferrying people and in the evening after they are done for the day. We will also sanitise them during the course of the day when possible,” said Madangwa.
Madangwa said all ZUPCO passengers are being encouraged to use tap cards instead of hard currency.
He noted that the buses will bear posters which have basic tips on how to protect oneself from contracting the pandemic.
“This should not be treated like a one-sided initiative, our passengers need to play their part as well by practising extreme hygiene. In Harare, there are already points for washing hands which have been put up in the city centre and some of these are close to ranks where people catch their buses from. We encourage them to wash their hands regularly so that they protect themselves. We will also deploy rank monitors who will ensure that people maintain reasonable distances between each other as they wait in queues.”
Tshova Mubaiwa chairperson Atlas Moyo noted that some passengers are still reluctant to acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic and are not treating it with the seriousness it deserves.
“Some of our passengers when we engage with them tell us that the virus will not attack black people. It is sad that they have not realised its seriousness. However, we play our part by ensuring that all our vehicles are thoroughly cleaned before they start out for the day. It is just that we can’t afford sufficient sanitisers to use frequently but we are trying our best to ensure that we keep our vehicles clean,” said Moyo.
Bulawayo United Public Transporters Association (Bupta) leader Keeper Ndlovu said they were strategising on how to create awareness amongst their passengers.