More Roadlink trouble

2010-01-05 00:00

SA ROADLINK, which had at least six buses taken off the road during last week and at the weekend, again had vehicles suspended in KZN yesterday.

The KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) said two buses were taken off the road at Ixopo — the bus on the Johannesburg to Mthatha route and the replacement vehicle.

RTI spokesman Colin Govender said officers were doing routine checks when they stopped the bus and discovered many faults, including the fact that it was still under suspension after a previous violation in April 2009.

The licence disk was a photocopy and the brakes were defective, Govender said.

“This bus was in no condition to transport people. On closer inspection we found 15 more defects and we phoned them to send a replacement to take the passengers to their respective destinations,” he said.

However, on inspection, the replacement was also found to be unroadworthy and the driver had no route permit.

Govender said they instructed the company to send another replacement.

National Transport Department spokesman Logan Maistry said the department will not tolerate public transport operators who disregard the safety and lives of commuters.

He said another investigation is under way against the company.

The company was previously investigated after a series of fatal crashes led former KZN Transport MEC Bheki Cele to dub its buses “moving coffins”.

“As in the previous investigation, necessary steps will be taken if the company is found to have broken any laws guiding public transport regulations,” Maistry said.

Attempts to get comment from the bus company yesterday evening were unsuccessful.

In the Western Cape, an SA Roadlink driver who was arrested for drunken driving has been suspended, the bus company said yesterday.

Spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said the 45-year-old driver faces an internal investigation.

She said an SA Roadlink delegation will be meeting Western Cape Safety and Security MEC Lennit Max today.

The Western Cape Transport Department said it is seeking urgent legal advice on ways of keeping buses in the province safe.

“New steps against unsafe bus operators are to be announced tomorrow,” said Max and Transport MEC Robin Carlisle in a joint statement after a briefing.

“In the wake of a series of unroadworthy buses pulled off Western Cape roads recently … the ministers have resolved to take a range of steps against any bus operator that places the public in jeopardy.

“The ministers have requested urgent legal advice on these steps before close of business today and will make a formal announcement at a press conference at noon tomorrow.”

The statement did not mention any bus company by name, but earlier department spokeswoman Adri Noble said that concerns about SA Roadlink would be discussed at the meeting.

With at least 200 of its buses pulled off the road in George for unroadworthiness, the company still maintains all its buses are properly certified.

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