Buses, taxis come to a standstill

Bus and taxi drivers are starting to feel the impact of the coronavirus on their livelihoods.

20 March 2020 | Transport

ESTER KAMATI

Windhoek



The public transport industry is feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as many Namibians opt to stay home.

Warnings to avoid public places have struck fear in the hearts of those who would normally make use of long-distance taxis and buses, said Sadam Nekongo, a bus driver at Ondangwa.

Nekongo, who has been a bus driver since 2000, says customers are hard to find these days as everyone fears contracting the coronavirus.

On his last trip from Lüderitz to northern Namibia on Tuesday, he struggled to find enough passengers to fill his bus.

Many people in the north are scared of going to town and prefer to stay in their villages, where the risk of getting infected is lower, Nekongo said.

Another driver, who calls himself P Jonas, said many learners and students who were studying in other parts of the country have returned home because of the school closure announced earlier this week.

Many other people have left larger towns and returned to their home villages. As a result, there aren't many people travelling between towns and this affects transport operators, he said.

“As much as we may not like the village, we must eventually come home,” he added.

Jonas made his last trip on Monday and during the interview, he was trying to fill up the bus for another trip, which was a slow process.

Another driver of a seven-seater minibus, who did not want to be named, told Namibian Sun that competition between bus drivers was heating up.

Sometimes there is conflict between the drivers as some try to 'steal' others' customers, he said.

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