We live in the age of on-demand goods and services. And what better time to make use of these than during a complete lockdown of a nation? We can order everything from tech to food online. And e-hailing services like Uber and Bolt have made it easier for humans to get around. Especially if they don’t have their own cars.
But with the imminent lockdown of the nation looming, many people are wondering whether they’ll be able to use these services to get the essentials, or go to the hospital. Takealot has applied to be categorised as an essential service already. So what about South African e-hailing services?
It didn’t look good…
Yesterday, when detailing the parameters of the lockdown, the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula told 702 that e-hailing services would be shut down during lockdown. That means no Uber or Bolt for anyone.
“This affects everybody, that includes Uber and all the e-hailing systems. Taxis, metered taxis all of them are affected,” said Mbalula.
He continued by outlining that people who need transport and work in essential industries will get access to ‘special provisions’. We’re not sure what this entails, but it looks like the government rolled back on this decision.
But you can use them
In the officially published legislation, it says that these services will actually be available during the lockdown. “All commuter transport services including passenger rail services, bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport is prohibited, except bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services, and private motor vehicles for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of grants,” the notice reads.
What this means is that you’ll be able to catch an Uber or Bolt if you’re classified as an essential worker. There are a few other caveats though. These vehicles aren’t allowed to carry more than 50% of the licensed capacity, and they have to adhere to strict hygienic conditions.
So, as long as you’re allowed to travel during the lockdown time (we’re not sure how this will be monitored/policed other than random roadblocks), and the car is cleaned before and after each passenger, you can use Uber or Bolt during the lockdown time period.