NO. 143/ 2010
26 FEBRUARY 2010
On Wednesday, 24 February, officers of City Traffic Service’s Ghost Squad stopped a bus on Highlands Drive, Mitchells Plain that was clearly overloaded. On closer inspection it was discovered that the bus was transporting 102 learners, although it was only permitted to carry 18. The bus also had a false licence disc and number plates belonging to another bus permitted to carry 29 passengers.
The structure of the bus had been drastically altered, with wooden benches fitted to the interior to increase seating capacity. The load-sensor valves had been disconnected, rendering only the front brakes operational. The safety-glass windows of the bus had also been removed and replaced with Perspex.
“Officers found scholars aged between five and 13 years sitting on the floor and on each other’s laps,” says media spokesperson for Cape Town Traffic Services, Chief Inspector Merle Lourens.
The 49-year-old driver from Belhar was arrested and detained at the Mitchells Plain Police Station. The following charges were laid against him: driving without a Road Transportation Permit; passenger overload; driving without a licence; driving without a professional driving permit; and driving with a false clearance certificate and number plates.
The owner of the bus was subsequently charged with permitting an unlicensed driver to drive a bus. He will also be facing further charges of fraud and negligence related to the Child Protection Act. The bus has been impounded and will undergo a roadworthy examination.
The dangers associated with un-roadworthy and overloaded buses remain a concern in Cape Town. Cape Town Traffic Services has therefore held various enforcement programmes across the city, targeting public transport vehicles. The Ghost Squad Unit is particularly effective, and Traffic Services’ newly launched specialist Taxi Ghost Squad will greatly aid the prosecution of public transport offenders.
''We appeal to parents to thoroughly check the credentials of the drivers and companies contracted to transport their children and to hold them accountable for their safety," said Chief Inspector Lourens.
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
CHIEF INSPECTOR: TRAFFIC SERVICES
TEL: 021 918 2514 CELL: 072 200 1512
TEL: 021 918 2310 CELL: 083 264 9661