Transport: Bus burnt out after tyre blow-out

2009-03-08 00:00

A fully laden SA Roadlink bus travelling through the Umkomaas Valley on Friday night was completely gutted after experiencing mechanical failure.

A reliable source, who was at the scene of the fire, told The Witness that the blaze started because of a tyre blow-out at about 11 pm.

“Passengers told us that they suddenly saw smoke and flames and then they quickly got off the bus.”

The Richmond SAPS and Ixopo Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) arrived at the scene shortly after to find the bus ablaze.

Surprisingly, no one sustained any injuries and all of the baggage was saved.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed the incident. He said a report was filed, but no cases were opened in connection with the bus fire.

When The Witness informed KZN Transport MEC Bheki Cele about the incident, he wasn’t very surprised.

“What more can I say about Roadlink?” he said.

“The public can see for themselves that it is not a good bus service.”

In December, Cele attempted to ban all SA Roadlink buses from the province after 11 people were killed in an accident involving one of their buses. His efforts were thwarted when the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled in favour of the company after an appeal.

Earlier this year, The Witness reported that the MEC vowed to continue investigations into the roadworthiness of luxury bus company vehicles.

Cele said yesterday that the department recently received a preliminary report from an independent body that has been investigating long-distance bus services on KZN roads, which found SA Roadlink to be one of the “not so good” bus services.

“I stand by this report, and this incident in Umkomaas is yet another example of this behaviour,” he said.

Numerous attempts were made to contact SA Roadlink for comment, but they could not be reached.

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