Buses ‘sabotaged’

2018-02-06 06:00
One of the eight buses stoned in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha.

One of the eight buses stoned in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha.

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A recent spike in stoning incidents involving MyCiTi buses in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha has cost the City of Cape Town more than R90 000.

“The sabotage of public transport services in the Metro South-east has reached unprecedented levels. The Metrorail Central Line has experienced severe disruptions over the past few weeks and is currently temporarily suspended. It seems that criminals are now also focusing on destabilising the MyCiTi bus service,” says Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“Up to eight stoning incidents took place along the N2 Express routes in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain on Friday and Saturday. We have never before had so many attacks on our buses in one weekend. Most disturbingly, one of our passengers was injured and had to have glass splinters removed from his eyes.”

One of these incidents took place along AZ Berman Drive, at around 22:00 on Saturday 27 January.

Nine bus windows and one windscreen were smashed during the eight attacks. “The total cost to replace the windows and windscreen that were smashed during the stoning incidents amounts to R93 512. It usually takes about three to four working days to do these repairs, thus the buses are out of service for these days, which results in longer waiting times for passengers as we have limited resources at our disposal. We have been deploying additional MyCiTi buses on the N2 Express routes between Cape Town and Khayelitsha since December last year to assist rail commuters who are stranded due to the service disruptions on the Metrorail Central Line. As far as I am concerned, criminals are hell-bent on bringing public transport in the Metro South-east to a complete halt. They are now targeting the MyCiTi service because many rail commuters are relying on our buses,” says Herron.

Over the past two years the number of passenger journeys on the four N2 Express routes has nearly doubled from 111 109 in November 2015 to 219 157 in November last year, confirming the demand, Herron says. “I deplore these senseless attacks. We cannot allow criminal elements to bring public transport on the Cape Flats to a halt. I urge the South African Police Service to investigate these incidents as a matter of urgency. Those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted. I am also appealing to our residents to please report suspicious activities so that we can protect our public transport assets.”

Local police are investigating the incidents and the City has not been notified of any arrests. As an added safety measure, all enforcement agencies are assisting with the monitoring of public transport routes, and MyCiTi buses are being deviated from potential hotspots as far as possible. “Deviations are implemented as and when necessary. The Transport Management Centre monitors all of the MyCiTi bus routes across the City during operational hours. The buses are deviated if any suspicious behaviour is noticed, or in the case of road accidents or protest action that may cause delays and threaten the safety of our commuters and personnel,” Herron says.

No other stoning incidents have been reported in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha since then.

V Anyone with information about these incidents or other suspicious activities is urged to contact the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63.

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