Johannesburg - A Joburg commuter has been left feeling helpless after several run-ins with Metrobus.
Xoli Mazibuko said the bus company had a “pathetic and inappropriate” way of handling customer complaints. She alleged it encouraged drivers to harass and intimidate them.
Mazibuko, who waited in vain in Linmeyer on Monday morning for buses that never came, said Metrobus’s policy on handling complaints was making it difficult for customers to lodge grievances.
The 38-year-old woman said that early this year the driver did not pick her up because he was in the middle lane instead of being on the far left, making it difficult for him to stop for passengers in peak-hour traffic.
“I decided to take a taxi. The following day the bus nearly hit me because the driver drives like a maniac. I called the call centre and complained,” she said.
Instead of an investigation into Mazibuko’s complaint, the driver was given her cellphone number, she said.
“The driver sent me a ‘please call me’ SMS. I did not know it was him and called that number. When he answered, he asked me why I reported him. When you report them they don’t pick you up. It means that now I am at risk,” she said.
Metrobus spokeswoman Esther Dreyer said that under no circumstances were call centre agents permitted to give passengers’ cellphone numbers to drivers.
“Ask the passenger to phone me on 011 403 4300 and I will submit a formal complaint against the call centre agent and the driver involved.
“Whenever a complaint is submitted, the complainant’s contact details should be kept confidential, only to be used by the depot superintendent dealing with the complaint,” Dreyer said.
On Tuesday, Mazibuko made alternative arrangements for getting to work when it became obvious that the buses would not come.
“I called the office and they told me they have a shortage of buses. Metrobus gives us the worst service, yet we pay and have tags,” said Mazibuko.
Dreyer said some unionised drivers were unhappy about their shifts and had disrupted operations at Gandhi Square.
Dreyer said they had asked the police for help with regard to bringing the situation under control.
The bus drivers are members of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union and the SA Municipal Workers Union.