Conferring to the meeting held in mponela by the Ministry of health, truck drivers association of malawi and proffessional drivers association of malawi on covid19 infections prevention and control of the transimition as one way of combating the pandermic, our everyday mode of transport whether, to our business sites, work or homes have proved a lot to the enormous spread of Covid 19 here in Malawi.
Even though it looks like something car owners are light-hearted about, it remains a serious problem when it comes to movements that are happening on a daily basis. In my previous post about dirty masks, I talked about how facemasks that are meant to halt the spread, can aid the spread of other infectious germs if not taken care of. This however can be made worse in a situation where communal transports, our only mode of transport, do not play courtesy to social distance and other protective measures put in place.
Earlier just after we started registering covid19 cases in Malawi, the ministry of transports and public works initiated widespread restrictions on public transport . With utmost respect to the phase we are in, the Ministry laid it openly that; all public transports should reduce their seating capacity by 60 percent, private vehicles should integrate only two passengers at the back and Tricycle reducing their seating capacity from 2 to 1. This was all done with the aim of trying to stop the spread.
Even though this was a case, car owners issued complaints that passenger capacity changes would jeopardise their business circle. With that in mind, we can’t run away from the fact that their complaint was logical and sound. And that it also signalled stumpy income generating means.
A week later, the government intervened and issued a statement to all ‘fuel selling’ companies that they should lower their fuel prices. This was one of the ways it was to be beneficial to both the times we are in and to business proprietors. Fast-forward to today, we continue to experience reckless and unexplained negligence for both the customers and public transport business owners, especially when it comes to the “capacity” or the number of people to occupy a single chair and also the fare which passengers are to pay to cover for the empty seats.
Anyways, that should be a topic for another day, but today allow me to talk about how passengers and our transport systems are aiding the spread of covid19 in our nation and maybe some other parts of the world who seemingly have similar snags.
Being one of one of the public transport communuters, and travelling on a daily basis, the spread of the virus in these public transports is both passenger-made and other unforeseeable factors affecting passenger’s daily decision making. Passengers are dully responsible and have the power to control and resist the exploitation emanating from unethical taxi, bus and minibus drivers and all other public transports left unmentioned. Therefore they remain answerable to all growing cases registered as a result of municipal transefences.
Even though this still remains a well-known checked fact, it is recommend for these public transport proprietors to also recognise the situation in which we are currently in, and it also serves as a wake-up call for the government, NGOs and Companies that they should also recognise and revise the working methods, salaries/wages and where possible, work attendance schedules, so as to incorporate those that use public transports.
Meanwhile, a situation where passengers are late to their respective homes, workplace, business places and other numerous places where they are supposed to be, they tend to care less about everything except reaching their designated destination, and this alone is contributing a lot to the spread of virus, since they are left with no choice but to seat three or four in one chair. Despite that, we can still make our public transports a better place and stop this spread, and the only way we can do this is by making sure that we are time conscious so that we do not panic and lose our sanity of adhering to these measures.
As passengers, it is to our determination to recognise our self-worth so as to prevent ourselves from indulging into acts that in end will put everyone around us at risk of contracting this deadly virus. This self-worth will ensure that we come into close contact with our individual rights towards public transports.
Currently they are also numerous factors that affect the way in which we perceive certain things and also how we react to those things, and this in the end hold a negative demeanour on our health and everyone else around us. And among many other factors, poor salaries/wages and also unrelenting experience of poor public transport systems have evolved to be the major contributors to the spread. But do we really need to neglect these issues and then lose ourselves in the process? Find out more on how these factors are aiding the spread in my next writting.