Fearful passengers get no joy from bus company

2008-12-19 00:00

SA ROADlink, which has had two devastating December holiday crashes in two years, and at least two others this year alone, has also earned itself a reputation for a lack of compassion for its passengers.

These were the sentiments of travellers who were waiting in the scorching sun yesterday morning for a Roadlink bus, which arrived more than an hour late.

The temperature was about 37° C in Pietermaritzburg when the passengers were waiting for the 9 am bus to Johannesburg, which only arrived at about 10.30 am.

The passengers said they were travelling with Roadlink under duress.

“I wanted to cancel my ticket and book with another bus service, but they told me that their policy does not allow them to give refunds. I booked for this bus before I heard about the [latest horrific] accident,” said Luwette Samuel.

The passengers said they were conscious of the risk they were taking following the highly publicised accidents involving Roadlink buses. The latest accident claimed 11 lives at Hibberdene, on the south coast, on Tuesday.

Following the accident, Transport MEC Bheki Cele announced that he was suspending the company’s permit to operate in KZN. However, Roadlink successfully challenged this in court last night.

Samuel was travelling to Johannesburg for a special meeting. She said she wished she could just forget about the money she paid to Roadlink for the bus ticket. “But I don’t have money to book for another bus. I’m upset because I’m scared of these buses,” said Samuel.

She said she phoned on Wednesday and Thursday to try and cancel her return ticket and claim back her R370.

Selvan Naidoo said he suffered the same treatment when he tried to cancel tickets for him, his wife and son.

He said a woman behind the counter at the Roadlink offices in Pietermaritzburg “bullied” him .

“When I came here [to the Roadlink offices] yesterday to cancel the ticket, the lady rudely refused to assist me. Then I had to reschedule our trip for today after reading in the paper that the buses have been suspended as from Friday evening,” said Naidoo.

The 64-year-old pensioner said he was charged a R30 penalty each for rescheduling the three tickets.

“I have been looking forward to visiting my son in Johannesburg. He booked the tickets for us, but we all changed our minds about travelling with Roadlink after hearing about the accident.”

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