Gauteng expecting large traffic volumes in interprovincial move

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The Gauteng Department of Transport says it expects traffic volumes in the province to increase this weekend.

This after the Minister of Co-operative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma confirmed that travellers have until Thursday next week to make use of the once-off travel concession between provinces.

Those who go back home or to their workplace have to stay at their new destination for the remainder of Level 4 of the national lockdown.

Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, says they are ready to deal with the increased traffic volumes.

“I have received reports of an increase at long distance taxi ranks in the province with people leaving the province. It would seem that there are a number of people that came in and are now preparing to leave the province. Already there is an indication from mass transit points that there will be movement,” says Mamabolo.

Meanwhile, Eastern Cape roads are busier than usual as many motorists and minibus taxis with passengers take full advantage of the Level 4 national lockdown regulations, which allow inter-province travel.

The once-off concession is valid for a week. The province’s western border with the Western Cape is one of the congested points.

Provincial Transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose says health officials remain on the ground to assist with the screening of commuters.

“It has seen quite an increase in the volume of traffic at our border checkpoints from Tsitsikamma, Aliwal North, even to the much-talked-about Aberdeen checkpoint and we expect things to remain like that until that window is closed. We want to urge our people not to abuse this window and remember that the threat of contracting coronavirus remains and with increased traffic volumes, there’s also a serious threat of accidents which are fatal at times,” says Binqose.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says no passenger trains will be operational under Level 4 of the national lockdown.

Addressing the media in Pretoria, he said trains will only resume operations when those responsible for train transport can convince government that this mode of transport will not be a source of spreading the coronavirus .

“There will be no airport service for Gautrain, that must be absolutely clear. I’ve seen other people making claims that there will be trains and so on. So there will be no trains on Monday, there will be no immediate resumption of Metrorail commmuter services until we have satisfied ourselves that the risk of transmission is manageable on a corridor by corridor basis. Long distance trains are still prohibited in Level 4,” says Mbalula.

In this video, there is traffic at the Grasmere toll plaza on the first day of Level 4 lockdown