Roadlink buses impounded

2010-01-04 00:00

THREE buses belonging to SA Roadlink were impounded in KwaZulu-Natal last week, and three have been impounded in the Cape, while the driver of another Roadlink bus was arrested at Worcester for drunk driving.

The bus company has been involved in a spate of accidents and traffic violations. At one point, former KZN Transport MEC Bheki Cele tried to bar the company from operating in the province.

A spokesman for the Road Traffic Inspectorate, Colin Govender, said they pulled one bus off the road for operating without a licence, only to discover that it was also unroadworthy.

“The bus was operating without a route licence between Durban and Johannesburg,” said Govender. “When the bus was taken to Mkondeni testing grounds, we discovered it had [other] problems.”

He said the bus had a crack on the rear shock absorber that had been welded, which is against the law, and it was cracking again.

“In addition, a slack adjuster was creating problems with the brakes and interfering with the steering wheel mechanism, and the general condition of the bus was not at all roadworthy.

“This was the third bus we had pulled off the road that was operating while in an unroadworthy condition. [Yesterday] morning we pulled another one off the road for defective brakes, shock absorbers that were in a bad condition and severe oil leaks.”

Govender said they were deeply concerned about the problems with SA Roadlink. “The same problems with Roadlink seem to arise and they do not seem eager to be trying to fix them, although these could result in a loss of lives on the road.”

In the Cape, a Roadlink bus was impounded in George after being found with defective brakes, the SABC reported.

This was after the first two buses were taken off the road in George and Knysna on New Year’s Day after a number of defects were found on them.

Yesterday, The Witness received calls from irate passengers who were waiting for their Roadlink bus to arrive in Pietermaritzburg.

Anton van Aarde said that his mother had been booked on a bus to Johannesburg. It was set to arrive in Pietermaritzburg at noon, but by 4.30 pm it had not yet come.

“There are many angry people here. We have had no explanations from SA Roadlink and they are refusing to refund our money.

“Some of the passengers are due to start work in Johannesburg on Monday and they are concerned they will not get there on time,” he said. “We are trying to be patient, but they are giving us no reason for the delay,” Van Aarde added.

Attempts to elicit comment from SA Roadlink yesterday on both the impounding of their vehicles and the delays local passengers faced were unsuccessful .

In another incident, RTI officials had to drive 20 German tourists to Durban International Airport after a bus belonging to the Elwierda Bus Company was impounded for being unroadworthy.

Govender said it was an act of compassion by the department.

“Normally, the bus company is supposed to bring a second bus to pick up the passengers, but these passengers were in dire straits.

“They all had to catch a flight to Johannesburg where they were due to catch a connecting flight to Germany.”

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