South Africa: Carlisle Lauds Tough and Urgent Action Taken By Autopax Against Bad Bus Driving

press release

The Western Cape focuses very intently on the safety of road passenger vehicles, as a result of which fatalities in this area have fallen considerably.

Recently, Minister Carlisle had noted a number of offenses committed by City to City and Translux buses.

These included a City to City bus involved in a head-on collision with a smaller passenger vehicle, resulting in the loss of three lives. A total of 35 City to City and 30 Translux buses had been stopped. Offences recorded for Translux buses included overtaking on a barrier line and driver not having a driver's license or a professional driver's permit.

"A very serious incident was reported to my office by a member of the public of a City to city bus travelling at 130km/h in a 60km/h zone between George and Knysna. We received visual evidence and a damning testimony from the member of the public alerting us to reckless behaviour exhibited by the City to City driver, said Minister Carlisle.

Minister Carlisle expressed his concerns to Mr Lucky Montana, CEO of PRASA, the holding company of Autopax.

Within 24 hours Mr Tumisang Kgaboesele, CEO of Autopax, Mr Justin Mnkandla, Executive Manager: Sales and Marketing, Ms Shereen May, Regional Manager, and Mr Rietaaf Lewis, Operations Manager: Coastal region, met with Carlisle in Cape Town. All issues were canvassed and Autopax's safety, security and maintenance regimes were fully canvassed.

"Safety and maintenance measures are rigorously adhered to with 300 point roadworthy test checks completed by our technical staff. Our drivers are randomly tested for substance abuse and driver's licences and PrDPs (professional driver's permit) are visually checked.

Drivers are trained and assessed by our driver assessors for correctness of behaviour on the road and are also required to have adequate rest time before embarking on new trips. Permanent drivers have been trained on defensive driving as well as first aid.

"All our buses are monitored by C-Track through operating control rooms that are established in all regions to monitor the buses for things such as speeding, excessive idling, over-revving and panic alarms. A tyre survey and brake tests are conducted on all buses pre and post all bus trips at our dedicated depots to ensure safety and fitness of the vehicle to transport passengers," said Mr Justin Mnkandla.

"I was very impressed by the urgent and detailed reaction from senior management. Autopax's quick response and availability to our request to meet on this very serious issue assures me that they take matters of safety on the road as seriously as we do. I am thus satisfied that these buses are in good hands, and look forward to continuing this most positive relationship," added Carlisle.

"We further commit to implementing video camera surveillance on our buses during the 2013/14 financial year as well as conducting safety campaigns to educate our commuters as well as to sensitise our drivers to the very real dangers that are caused by reckless and irresponsible driving. We also plan to ensure that personnel on duty on our coaches ensure that all passengers are buckled up before departure," added Mnkandla.

For the record, Provincial Traffic Services have, since July 2012 till the end of November 2012, stopped a total of 577 long distance coaches found to have various violations ranging from excessive speeding to drivers with no driver's licenses or professional driving permits.

The bulk of the offences were recorded against SA Roadlink buses (26%) from the pool of 577 buses in total stopped from 115 long distance coach operators.

The recorded violations for SA Roadlink buses are:

  • 2 buses with invalid license discs
  • No operating license
  • Smooth tyre
  • Colour photocopies of license discs displayed
  • Bus found with administration mark
  • Bus operating contrary to a suspension (impounded for further testing)
  • Bus found with mandrax tablets on board.

"In the past, we have taken tough action against long distance coaches and drivers who do not obey the rules of the road and have failed to prioritise road safety. We will continue to do so until we are certain that the safety of passengers, and other road users, is the number one priority to those that are entrusted with getting us all home safely," added Carlisle.

Issued by: Western Cape Transport and Public Works

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