Anti-COVID SOPs for public transport, Private vehicles


President Museveni addresses the nation recently. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Following the lifting of lockdown on public transport by President Museveni on 30th July 2021, the Ministry has issued SOPs that shall be used by public and private transport users to curb the spread of the COVID-19. 

  • Leaders of associations for buses, taxis and bodabodas are encouraged to self-regulate on all stated SOPs.
  • Government will review the status of compliance after every 14 days. 
  • Breach of any of these SOPs by the operators of public transport will lead to cancellation of the Operator’s Licences/PSV Licences or total closure of the public transport.

A. GENERAL SOPs FOR ALL PUBLIC TRANSPORT USERS/OPERATORS

  1. Restriction of Access: The general public is discouraged from the use of Public Transport and must only use it when they MUST. Use of personal or private means of travel is encouraged, including cycling. 
  2. Social Distancing inside taxis/buses: Operators of taxis and buses are required to ensure adequate social distance between passengers/crew by restricting their vehicles not to carry more than half (50%) of the licensed passenger carrying capacity inclusive of the driver and conductor where applicable. For instance, a taxi licensed to carry 14 passengers can only be allowed to load a maximum of 8 (eight) people excluding the driver and conductor per trip; A bus licensed to carry 67 passengers can only be allowed to load a maximum of 38 (thirty eight) people excluding  the driver and conductor per trip.
  3. Social Distancing in Taxi/bus Parks: All persons in taxi/bus parks are required to maintain adequate social distancing as of Two meters (2m) apart as recommended by the Ministry of Ministry of Health.
  4. Minimizing congestion in taxi/bus parks: To minimize the number of taxis/buses operating in public and private transport parks, park management are required to limit the number of taxis/buses loading passengers at any given time. As a matter of emphasis, only One (1) taxi/bus should load passengers at a time for a given route.
  5. Compulsory use of Masks: All persons (passengers, driver, conductor, etc.) in a taxi/bus shall be required to wear masks at all times during the trip.
  6. Maintaining proper Hygiene in taxis/buses: All taxi/bus operators shall be required to regularly disinfect their vehicles with special anti-microbial cleansers prior to every trip, after every two hours during the trip and at the end of the trip. All passengers should also be compelled to wash their hands with soap/sanitizers prior to entering a taxi/bus.
  7. Maintaining proper Hygiene in taxi/bus parks: All taxi/bus parks shall be required to have  hand washing facilities with disinfectants for passengers and other persons within the parks.
  8. Prohibition of Touting: Touting shall NOT be permitted in the taxi/bus parks and at designated stages.
  9. Ventilation: Operators of taxis and buses shall ensure adequate ventilation of their vehicles at all times during the trip and during loading of passengers in taxi/bus parks. Use of air conditioning is prohibited as it aids the spread of the virus.
  10. Access control and body temperature checks at taxi/bus parks entry points: In order to minimize the risk of infected people entering public transport parks, all taxi/bus parks must have health body temperature detectors (thermometers) at entry checkpoints to identify and isolate potential COVID-19 infected persons before accessing a public transport park.
  11. Public Sensitization: Public transport Operators and park management are encouraged to make constant public reminders (sensitization) using appropriate means such as public address systems on how to avoid the virus by following the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health (e.g Constant hand washing/sanitization, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, etc).
  12. Observing Curfew time: All Public transport Operators must observe the Curfew time as directed by H.E. the President.
Taxi – Matatu – tout sanitizes a passenger as they embark on a route in a Kampala suburb. (FILE PHOTO)

B. SOPs FOR PRIVATE OMNIBUSES AND OTVs.

1.             All Public transport SOPs in Section A above apply to PMOs and OTVs.

C. SOPs FOR BUS OPERATORS.

  1. Passenger Manifest: All bus operators are required to maintain an accurate passenger manifest to enable prompt contact tracing for COVID-19 suspected/confirmed cases.
  2. Observing Curfew time: All bus Operators must observe the Curfew time of 7pm or as may be changed from time to time by H.E. the President. Bus Operators whose operations (as per current route charts) are affected by this measure should seek authorization from the Ministry of Works to change their operational time and/or route where applicable.
  3. Interstate Bus Operations: All buses crossing borders shall, on top of the above SOPS, be required to follow the Standard Operating Procedures for international travel. Specifically, all passengers and crew shall have negative PCR results taken within 72 hours of the trip.

D. SPECIAL SOPs FOR STAFF/PEOPLE WORKING WITHIN THE PARKS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

For staff/people working within the Public Transport Parks the following measures should be considered by public transport providers in order to protect their staff, infrastructure and operations:

  1. Information and awareness: Staff/people to be well informed and awareness shall be raised on the risks of infection and the measures needed to be taken in order to minimize those risks.
  2. Training: Staff shall receive special training on how to disinfect facilities and surfaces properly. Furthermore, staff shall be trained on how to communicate with and react to passenger’s concerns about measures taken to prevent the virus spread (e. g. disinfection measures).
  3. Provision with protection gear and disinfection: Staff shall be provided with adequate protection gear (face masks, gloves/hand sanitizers) in order to secure their health and avoid them from being infected.
  4. Health check-up: Regular health check-ups can support and ensure that the employees feel safe and comfortable at work as well as identify any potential infections in an early stage.
  5. All Local Governments in the areas where buses or taxis terminate must enforce the observation of the health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

E. STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR BODA BODAS 

  1. All motorcycle riders shall at all times while riding wear a face mask covering the mouth and nose and a safety helmet. 
  2. All passengers shall at all times while travelling on a motor cycle wear a face mask covering the mouth and nose. Passengers are however, encouraged to use face shields while travelling on motorcycles. 
  3. All boda boda operators are required to regularly disinfect their motorcycles and their jackets with special anti-microbial cleansers prior to every trip, and at the end of the trip. All passengers should also be compelled to clean their hands with sanitizer prior to boarding the motor cycle.
  4. A boda boda shall strictly carry one passenger at a time. 
  5. Social Distancing at Boda Boda Stages: Operators shall maintain a social distance of two meters (2m) apart at the Boda boda stage. 
  6. Public Sensitization: Boda boda Operators and stage chairpersons are encouraged to make constant public reminders (sensitization) on how to minimize spread of COVID19 by following the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health (e.g Constant hand washing/sanitization, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, etc.).
  7. Observing Curfew time: All motor cycles must observe the Curfew time as directed by H.E. the President.

STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS

All public transport operators including buses, taxis, OTVs and boda bodas are required to have the statutory requirements before operating, namely:

  • Operator’s/PSV licence.
  • Third Party Insurance.
  • Route Charts for buses.

Drivers with expired driving licences should renew their driving licences within one month (by 1st September 2021).

F. PRIVATE VEHICLES

Private vehicles will be allowed to operate but with a maximum of only 3 persons in the vehicle, including the driver. All persons should be wearing masks as guided by the Ministry of Health. 

G. STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR PASSENGER RAIL, FERRIES AND INLAND WATER VESSELS 
  1. Passenger Rail Services: 
    1. The Passenger train shall have half passenger capacity and ensure that passengers seat at least 2 meters apart.
    2. All passengers and crew shall at all times while on board wear face masks covering the nose and mouth.
    3. All passengers shall wash hands and/or sanitize their hands and have their temperatures taken and recorded before boarding the train. All railway stations shall provide hand washing, sanitizing and temperature screening facilities for this purpose. 
    4. All coaches shall be disinfected at every end of the trip.
    5. Public Sensitization: Uganda Railways Corporation will make constant public reminders (sensitization) at the Stations and on the train on how to minimize spread of COVID19 by following the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health (e.g Constant hand washing/sanitization, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, etc).
  2. Ferries and Boats: 
    1. All ferries and boats shall carry half the licensed passenger capacity to ensure social distancing. Passengers shall seat/stand at least two (2) meters apart.
    2. All passengers and crew shall at all times while on the ferry/boat wear face masks covering the nose and mouth.
    3. The Crew shall ensure that all passengers wash hands and/or sanitize their hands before boarding the vessel. The crew shall therefore provide hand washing and sanitizing facilities on the vessel and at the landings. 
    4. All passengers and crew shall have their temperatures taken and recorded before embarking on the vessel.
    5. Public Sensitization: The Ferry Masters, Boat crew and respective landing site management units at landing sites are encouraged to make constant public reminders (sensitization) on how to minimize spread of COVID19 by following the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health (e.g Constant hand washing/sanitization, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, etc.).
    6. All vessels shall be disinfected at the end of every trip. 
    7. The respective landing management units at landing sites shall gazette areas where boats land and where passengers embark and disembark.
    8. The management units should provide facilities for handwashing, sanitizing and temperature screening for all passengers and crew embarking or disembarking. Temperatures shall be recorded against the passenger manifest which shall be kept in duplicate. (One to stay at the landing and another to be kept on the vessel).

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