The wheels on the bus.?.?. may fall off

2015-06-16 06:00

Pupil transport has come under the spotlight after the Ocean View Community Police Forum raised concerns around the safety of vehicles used.

A number of vehicles are suspected of being unroadworthy and overloading or not having correct licences, says chairperson Kathy Cronje.

Kleinberg Primary School principal Yoghya Chothia says she is concerned about the condition of some private transport. A variety of vehicles are used, including minibus taxis and cars.

“We have met with the private transport drivers. We try to monitor it, but we don’t have control over transport. We have, fortunately, had no incidents, but we want our pupils to be safe,” he says.

But the responsibility to ensure transport is safe falls to parents, explains Marine Primary principal Wayne Lawrence.

“We remind parents to ensure the transport they use for their children is safe. The best we can do is to advise parents,” he says.

Ocean View falls under the enforcement authority of the City of Cape Town’s traffic services, explains Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for the provincial minister of transport and public works, Donald Grant. The department has undertaken awareness projects to educate drivers and parents.

“Minister Grant has participated in pupil transport operations conducted by the City to address this very problem, when they are informed of incidents where children are being transported in conditions that are not appropriate or safe,” he says.

“The National Land Transport Act requires vehicles to be roadworthy and appropriate for the transportation of scholars, as well as for operators to be in possession of the necessary documentation and authority in order to carry out this function.”

The public transport unit (PTU) has not received complaints specifically from Ocean View schools, says City of Cape Town safety and security executive director Richard Bosman. However, operations are held to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and that drivers have the necessary licences and operating permits. Operations are also held to ensure that general traffic rules are complied with, he says.

“In general, the PTU conducts operations in problematic areas, but has not yet dealt with Ocean View. In light of the new complaint, the unit will put it on their list for investigation,” he says.

“Anyone who travels in an unroadworthy vehicle, and with a driver that is unlicenced, places their life at risk.”

Parents are encouraged to take every practical step to ensure that the transport provided is safe, ensure that the driver is properly authorised to perform this function, including being in possession of a valid driver’s licence and roadworthy certificate for their vehicles, Dube says.

Parents who arrange transport for their children should ensure that the transport operators are licenced and have the relevant public transport permits, Bosman says.

“If the driver does not have the necessary operating permits and is pulled over, the pupil may be delayed in getting to school or may not arrive at all as the vehicle will be impounded. Traffic officers try their utmost to transport the pupils themselves to their schools in instances like this,” he explains

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