In light of recent incidents that have compromised the reputation and credibility of the transport service , Mavela Dlamini, Managing Director at Metrobus, addressed the questions and concerns of 702 listeners on the Redi Tlhabi show.
Dlamini says the main concern is that the quality of service that Metrobus provides is seemingly declining. He says that this appears to be as a result of human negligence.
Our sense is that those incidences are not attributable to the age of the buses. In the main, those incidences are attributable to a human factor; and that human factor needs to be addressed. That’s we’ve started to do as accompany; to improve our interactions with customers and our driving skills and to ensure that driver conduct is improved. All these things need to be attended to.
The four major incidents surrounding Metrobus that have created major public concern in recent months:
1. In July 2014 an abandoned Metrobus rolled down a Randburg street, leaving four people dead.
2. In February 2015 a Metrobus, without any passengers, crashed through Queen Elizabeth Bridge in Braamfontein.
3. On 1 April 2015 a Metrobus was robbed in a shooting that involved five armed men.
4. On 24 April 2015 two Metrobuses collided in Rosebank, killing three and injuring 63 passengers leaving others in a critical condition. One of the bus drivers and a pregnant woman died.
The 'Human Factor'
Although Dlamini acknowledges that many of the buses in the Metrobus fleet are older than the industry standard , he says the above incidences were not caused by mechanical failure. According to Dlamini, the above events were as a result of the "human element", including neglect and recklessness on the part of the Metrobus driver.
He says that generally buses in a fleet are replaced every 10 to 12 years, but that Metrobus is still operating buses 20 years and older. Dlamini says the City of Johannesburg has already spent half a billion rand to order new buses to add to the fleet.
We get the sense that the incidences relate to how the driver interacts with bus; not the condition or the age of the bus, which could then be dealt with differently. Until we intervene on the human factor, we will upgrade our skills. We are conscious of the fact that we are not just driving a consignment; we are driving people, who are responsible for the economy of the City.
10 themes raised by commuters in conversation with Dlamini: (scroll down to listen to the audio below)
- Road-worthiness of the vehicles and accurate numbering of buses in the fleet.
- Drivers' disregard of traffic regulations, including running red-lights, double parking and using cellphones.
- Driver fatigue and psychological fitness.
- The need for covert bus inspectors.
- Pilferage and bus drivers who collect ticket money but don’t account for it.
- Implementation of policies such as seating of passengers with disabilities and ensuring bus cleanliness.
- Implementation of a smartcard system or other ticketing technology.
- Unreliability of timetable and lateness of buses.
- Information service that notify updated schedules.
- Preventative versus punitive action at the bus service.
@RediTlhabi. MB always overloaded n passengers standing on the doors. Why? Another way of generating profit at the cosy of passengers?— Nhlapo Phoka (@nhlapo2pp) May 11, 2015
@RediTlhabi why not install CCTV camera on the buses that can keep an eye on the drivers and the client— Tobie (@Tobie30) May 11, 2015
@RediTlhabi with utmost respect it sounds like the drivers run metro bus and not management !! How long do we make excuses or people did ?— Neil (@daroochie) May 11, 2015
@RediTlhabi The Metrobus gentleman knows more about the ideal than reality.— KABELO MG (@KabeloMG) May 11, 2015
@RediTlhabi MD should use Metro buses to get to work at least once a week to keep abreast of what is going on at ground level.— Ras Putin 🇿🇦🇸🇿 (@sveveni) May 11, 2015
Listen to the full conversation on The Redi Tlhabi Show: