Passengers stranded during bus trip to Jo’burg from hell

2014-02-13 00:00

PASSENGERS who were left stranded on the side of the N3 yesterday after two SA Roadlink buses broke down during their trip to Johannesburg, resorted to hitch-hiking to get to their destination.

The trip to Johannesburg from Durban is usually seven hours but for the Roadlink passengers yesterday, their trip took considerably longer.

A disappointed student at the University of Johannesburg, Nombulelo Msonga from Umtata, said, “The trip was not an easy one. We left Durban at 11 pm on Tuesday and the first bus broke down at Umlaas Road.” Roadlink sent another bus to fetch the passengers, but this bus broke down as well.

“We are still here,” said Msonga speaking to The Witness at 11 am yesterday on the N3 at the bottom of Town Hill while she waited with other passengers for Roadlink to send a third bus for them.

“We spent the night on the bus with empty stomachs as we could not even walk to the shops. Small babies and some gogos were also not coping with the situation in the morning and they got a lift from Eldo coaches,” said Msonga.

Msonga said her trip was a nightmare from the beginning as she was travelling from Umtata.

“The bus coming from Cape Town broke down near eNgcobo. A minibus was sent to take us to Durban.”

The second bus in the Durban to Johannesburg trip broke down just after the on- ramp to the N3 northbound at about 4 am. She said a car from Roadlink in Pietermaritzburg arrived with diesel, which was put in the tank.

“We hoped that this was the only problem. The next thing the diesel gauge was not working; instead another mechanical problem was found and the bus was unable to start. The bus was towed away and we were left stranded by the side of the road.”

They had to stand in the scorching heat with no water or food. They were later provided with hamburgers and drinks by the bus company.

Velephi Mazibuko, who was on her way for a job interview, was also amongst the frustrated passengers. “They don’t care about our lives; they didn’t even send a bus to pick us up to take us to a safe spot or take us to Johannesburg; we were left standing in the heat. These buses must be banned from our roads,” she said.

Mduduzi Ngxongo, who was going to register at the University of Johannesburg, said, “I was going to register for my transport course but I have to go back to Durban and start again”.

Dr Thulani Gwala, a TV personality for Dumisa TV on DSTV, had to cancel a shoot.

“The shoot of my show had to be cancelled because I was not there. I was supposed to be in Johannesburg before 8 am as the shoot was going to start at 8.30 am on Wednesday [yesterday]. We will have to pay for the studio, cameramen, producers and make-up artists as everything was set for the shoot that did not go on.”

KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate’s Zinhle Mngomezulu said they sent inspectors to do pre-warnings to alert motorists to the presence of the stricken bus on the road.

“I was woken up by a call from a motorist who said the bus is in a hazardous spot. We sent the inspectors to help. The bus is roadworthy, according to our records.”

Attempts to get comment from Roadlink yesterday were unsuccessful.

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