Nearly half the vehicles applying for public transport permits are being rejected as unroadworthy as the Western Cape provincial government cracks down on long-distance buses and taxis over the festive season. With the increased volumes on the roads, transport MEC Robin Carlisle said this was important in stopping road accidents.
Carlisle said traffic officials had turned down about 40 percent of vehicles presented for permits because they were unroadworthy.
“This exercise is done through out the year.”
“We intensify it over Easter, the festive season and July. There is a lot of traffic on the road this time of the year.
“It has been effective. Except for the two crashes last week, where both drivers had fallen asleep, there have not been any major incidents. We are at 32 percent less fatalities that we had in the same period last year,” Carlisle said.
He said City of Cape Town and provincial traffic officials tested a large number of buses and taxis, mainly destined for the Eastern Cape.
Last week, Carlisle had been witness to inspection of buses and taxis at a bus terminal in Joe Gqabi, Philippi East.
Officials tested for roadworthiness, inspected vehicle documentation and whether drivers had the proper permits to be on the road.
Carlisle said vehicles that met all the requirements sported blue stickers to help traffic officials identify approved vehicles. Uncleared vehicles found on the road were taken off.
Carlisle said vehicles entering the province were being inspected by officials on the N1 near Beaufort West and N2 near Bitou.
They mainly keep a look out for overloaded buses and taxis, as well as fatigued drivers.
He said they were stressing the importance of two drivers on the road in order to avoid accidents. Ideally, a driver should not be at the wheel for more than four hours at a stretch, Carlisle said.
The sounds of suitcases dragged on the pavement, excitement and bus engines at the bustling Joe Gqabi bus and long-distance taxi terminus in Philippi East signalled the start of the journey for many.
Nkosincedile Dumbela from Khayelitsha was travelling for the first time on a long-distance bus.
Usually when he visits relatives in his hometown of Gatyane they use the family car. But his parents drove to the Eastern Cape for a funeral last month.
“I'm a little worried because I've never taken a bus to go home, so I don't know how the trip will be,” Dumbela said.
Bus owner Alex Nyaniso Mhlaba said his buses, which loaded yesterday destined for Mthatha, had gone to the roadworthy centre for testing.
He makes available 59 seats in his 60-seater bus for bookings, while the remaining seat is used by the drivers while resting.
Each one drives 200km of the trip, Mhlaba said. - Cape Times