Motorists who witness luxury long-distance buses taking what they believe are unnecessary risks with their passengers - such as speeding or overtaking on dangerous stretches of road - are asked to report the incidents to the KwaZulu-Natal transport department for action to be taken.
Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Rajen Chinaboo said that motorists could play an important role as the "eyes and ears" of the authorities, and that all such reports would be investigated.
Chinaboo said that the inspectorate appreciated people submitting complaints to the Transport Department's Mpimpa hotline.
"When the department receives a complaint, the nearest RTI traffic station is contacted and we always follow up with the complainants," he said.
The issue came to a head this festive season when an accident involving an SA Roadlink bus resulted in the deaths of 12 people on Christmas Day. Sixty-three buses out of 239 vehicles were suspended after roadworthy tests were conducted on them during blitzes in Pinetown, Durban, Estcourt and Enkonyeni and in Pietermaritzburg, since December 24.
The unroadworthy buses belonged to companies including Intercape, Eldo Coaches, Translux, Pro Tours, Mega Coaches, Bux Luxury Coachlines and Kalahari Tours.
Carol Edwards, of Morningside, who regularly travels on the N3, wrote to The Mercury saying that she had encountered luxury buses travelling at speeds of more than 140km/h on two separate occasions during December. One of these was an SA Roadlink vehicle.
"One of the drivers just flashed his lights at me and continued up the fast lane at Peacevale," Edwards said.
"I attempted to catch up with the bus and gestured to him to slow down, but he just took no notice of me."
SA Roadlink spokesperson Herman Steyn said he had
not received any complaints and that none had been relayed to their customer services department.
"On the N3 there are various cameras and we have requested information on those coaches caught speeding on a weekly basis," said Steyn.
He said that SA Roadlink was investigating Edwards's complaint.
He also told Edwards that the speed limit for SA Roadlink buses was 110km/h.
As part of the KZN Transport Department's Asiphephe campaign, people can report bad driving to the Mpimpa hotline at 086 221 1010, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
People may also report driving offences at the department's website at www.kzntransport.gov.za/MpimpaOnline/registration.asp
This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on January 04, 2007