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SA ROADLINK says provincial traffic authorities are waging a campaign against it – and the company is to apply for an urgent court interdict to prevent them from continually pulling their buses off the road.
Roadlink public relations and marketing manager Tania Smith said yesterday that the company had instructed attorneys to file the court papers and that an advocate had already been briefed.
The company accuses Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle of announcing that Roadlink buses should be “singled out” by traffic authorities.
Smith said the company had since lost R90 000 as a result of their buses being pulled off the road by traffic authorities.
Two buses that were pulled off in George last week were sent away to repair one marker light and one bright light.
“The operator was told that he could leave once the bulbs were replaced, which was done. A few minutes later, an officer arrived and took the (buses) discs and insisted on a full roadworthy test.”
Smith said the roadworthy tests found “minor defects” for which a fine could have been levied. “All buses are on full maintenance contract and are serviced at intervals of 30 000km.”
Carlisle’s mandate to the traffic authorities was causing the company “financial and reputational prejudice” as well as “unwarranted hardship to its passengers”.
She said the 68 passengers in last week’s two buses had been stranded for four hours.
“We hired Sprinters and Quantums to take them further,” she said.
She said 10 Roadlink buses had been pulled off in the last month.
Meanwhile, the provincial Traffic Services Department reports that two more Roadlink buses were pulled off yesterday, in Knysna and Beaufort West.
Spokesman Kenny Africa said the bus pulled off in Knysna had a duplicate licence disc. It had been subjected to a roadworthy test, which it failed.
Africa said the other bus had been impounded because of “permit problems” and that it had also failed the roadworthy test.
Greg Wagner, spokesman for Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, said the two Roadlink buses topped in George last week had been taken to the local testing station for a roadworthy inspection.
They had failed the test and had been taken off the road.
Their drivers had been fined R1 000 each.
Carlisle’s spokesman, Siphesihle Dube, confirmed that the department had received a letter threatening court action.
“The provincial administration will continue to do whatever is within its powers to safeguard the lives of public transport passengers.
“That includes pulling public transport vehicles off the road,” said Dube.
He said Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi had announced that he had opened a criminal complaint against SA Roadlink after he received information that alleged that SA Roadlink had been producing false permits for its own use.
“MECs Carlisle and Plato then announced that all SA Roadlink buses would be stopped to check for possible fake permits. “Copies of the fakes were distributed to provincial traffic services,” said Dube.
l SA Roadlink has been involved in on average, two serious road accidents a year.