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Thread: Intercape Bus Lines

  1. #1
    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Intercape Bus Lines

    I am not sure if this fits here Dave, but I feel the need to "blow the whistle" on what I considered to be the better inter city bus line in SA. The regulars at TFSA know that I am busy relocating to Cape Town. Due to my workload and regulars in Port Elizabeth, I take regular trips back and forth(7 trips the past 2 months). I have been reasonably satisfied with the Intercape service so far, it does not bug me that they resort to switching the TV off due to malfunction, as I sleep as much as I can on the road.
    Yesterday I worked the whole day in PE and late afternoon received an SMS from Intercape informing me that the bus would be 90 minutes late.(They obviously were already aware of a problem). Today I had 2 inspections here in Cape Town, thus the reason I wanted to sleep.
    When the bus finally arrived (125 minutes late) I could hear that all was not well. It was so loud it was difficult to tell whether it was the waterpump or the turbo.
    By the time we got to Plett I had had enough. While the driver battled to get the bus into gear, I phoned Intercape and spoke to Angie (00H24). She transfered me to Francis.
    I informed him that the bus was problematic from the moment it had arrived, already late, and that I had had enough. Some of the other passengers had also spoken to the driver who denied any major fault. Francis assured me that a bus was on it's way from Mossel Bay(a blatant lie) and that we would await it's arrival in Plett (another blatant lie).
    Eventually the driver managed to get the bus into gear and started off. Once I realised that he was not just moving the bus I asked the driver where he was going to as I had been informed by his office that we were to remain there. He replied that we were to meet up along the way(between Plett and Mossel Bay).
    The bus carried on until Mossel Bay before we were transfered to a different one.
    Now we get to what bugs me. I had told Francis that the bus was unsafe because to take a heavy vehicle through a mountain pass you must be able to use all the gears. When beginning the descent the driver must gear down to remain in control. I also informed Francis that should we not be provided with a safe vehicle I would have to report the disregard for passengers lives to the traffic authorities as well as broadcasters & publications so that the public are aware of the risk in making use of their busses.
    I also reminded him of what bad publicity SA Roadlink got when they were not up to scratch.
    Despite this, Francis saw fit to lie to me and instruct the driver to continue driving.
    In order for the bus to be so late in PE, they must have lost time and been made aware of the fault even before it arrived at East London. I was informed by a passenger who came from East London that the bus was late from Cape Town. This means that the bus from Cape Town to East London was used for the return trip despite having a problem without being checked or repaired.
    I recorded a clip with my cell phone which clearly illustrates the noise and the fact that there was no rear number plate. The registration number was however at the front of the bus. There was also a baggage trailer being towed.
    In Knysna where I made the recording, I took a closer look but could still not pinpoint the origin of the din. I did however notice an oil leak which I presume could quite possibly have been the cause of the trouble if it was the gearbox that had run dry. The grating and non selection of the gears certainly support this.
    To have a bus travel across the country and then embark on the return trip in a faulty condition is a clear display of blatant disregard for the safety of their passengers as well as for the country's legislation.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    There's obviously little or no consequences in the industry for running a sub-standard vehicle (unless there's a high profile accident maybe). Just out of interest how much do you pay for a round trip ticket? The other side of the coin is that obviously prices to the end user will rise drastically if it becomes heavily policed and they're forced to up the quality of their busses.

    It is conceivable that at 24 minutes past midnight their help desk wouldn't have good communications from the other departments regarding where and when you were to transfer to another bus.
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  3. #3
    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Of the seven trips 5 were below R300.00 one-way, the 3rd last was R320.00 and this last trip was R450.00. This hike is partially due to petrol invreasing and also because of the holidays. I get one-way tickets because I do not know before the time exactly when I will be returning. I travel at night so that after a day's work I get some shut-eye before the next day's work.
    My beef is not with the lady who answered the 24 Hour Hotline. I am the hell in with Intercape for letting the faulty bus leave East London after arriving there late with a serious problem. The fact that it eventually made it back as far as Mossel Bay was very fortunate. Had the driver not been able to engage lower gears not his descents, the bus could have overturned or collided with another vehicle.
    There were young and elderly passengers on the bus who could clearly hear that there was something wrong and wre getting quite agitated.
    Why did Intercape not find and repair the fault(a dry gearbox?) or use a different bus?
    They knowingly and willingly put all their paying passengers and other road user's lives at risk.
    If I knew of a law that allowed me to lay a charge of willful endangerment of our lives, I would make such a charge against them before they do it again and cause a load of people to lose their lives.
    Last edited by Sparks; 27-Mar-11 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Mis-typed figure

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I appreciate that if there are safety concerns, it shouldn't be an option - but I am curious:

    Assuming for the moment they didn't have an alternative bus available at Port Elizabeth, would you have preferred they canceled that run?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Intercape Bus Lines has such a bad reputation and has had so many accidents in the past that I am surprised that people still use them out of free choice.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I appreciate that if there are safety concerns, it shouldn't be an option - but I am curious:

    Assuming for the moment they didn't have an alternative bus available at Port Elizabeth, would you have preferred they canceled that run?
    That is the main problem I have with this issue. It is all about safety and consideration for the paying customer. That the bus was late I am prepared to accept. If there was no bus available at East London, Port Elizabeth or any other place closer than Mossel Bay, I would definately have preffered they cancell the run or at least inform the passengers what the problem is. Had I known the problem from the onset I would have used another bus company or bought a plane ticket. I received an sms from Intercape at 14H12 informing me that the bus would be late. At that point in time they knew about the problem. The bus was due to leave PE at 18H30. I believe that is enough time to get another bus.

  7. #7
    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurock View Post
    Intercape Bus Lines has such a bad reputation and has had so many accidents in the past that I am surprised that people still use them out of free choice.
    I am afraid I must disagree with you. I have been making use of busses for years and until now have had absolutely no problem with Intercape. They are cleaner and more punctual on the whole and their busses are usually roadworthy. Their track record I believe is the best. I am just sorry that this incident is not receiving the same publicity that was given to SA Roadlink when they were operating busses that should not have been on the road. I have sent the same e-mail I sent to Intercape, to all the traffic departments on the route that I could find mail adresses for on the web. Till today Intercape have yet to respond. I will probably fly to PE for Easter.

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