Buses: five of company’s vehicles pulled over for ‘technicalities’

2008-12-21 00:00

Following Transport MEC Bheki Cele’s promise to intensify law enforcement against long-distance bus services, eight buses have been impounded in Pietermaritzburg.

Transport Department spokeswoman Nonkululeko Mbatha said yesterday that five of the buses belong to SA Roadlink.

“These [SA Roadlink] buses were suspended because of a combination of issues relating to permits and for being unroadworthy,” she said.

SA Roadlink spokesman Sam Fidelis said the company feels victimised ever since the MEC’s announcement that he was withdrawing their permit to operate in KZN. The company secured an interim interdict on Friday suspending the withdrawal order.

“The matter is getting ugly. We never wanted it to get to a point where it’s looking like a war between us and the department,” he said.

“The whole situation is very disappointing, especially at this time,” he added. “We only want to provide our customers with the best service.”

Fidelis said that most of their buses were taken off the roads for technicalities. Three of the buses were impounded because they did not have permits to operate in KZN. Though he admitted that it is unacceptable for buses to operate without permits, he said that the department has never been strict about this.

“We once had an understanding with the department, especially with regard to permits,” he said.

“They know that this time of the year brings in a lot more bus users and we try and meet this demand with buses that are fine to be on the road, but do not have the documentation necessary to operate in KZN.”

Fidelis said that since Cele’s ruling, the company have done a lot more to improve the quality of their service.

“We’ve cut down on the [number] of buses we have on the road. We make sure they are checked thoroughly before putting them out on the road,” he said.

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