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Putco bus drivers ‘are reckless’

JOHANNESBURG - “One thing that worries us is that even when you teach people, they show this bad behaviour on the roads,” marketing manager Raphiri Matsaneng said yesterday.

He was reacting to questions over a Putco bus accident in Meyerton this week that claimed the lives of 19 people and injured 55 others.

Before taking to the roads, Putco drivers were initially tested for co-ordination, eyesight and their response to unforeseen events, Matsaneng said.

They are also sent for refresher courses on road rules and safety, although even this did not seem to help. “We don’t have very good drivers in South Africa and for some reason our Putco bus drivers show this,” he said.

The company urged motorists to report bad driving as soon as they saw it.

The driver involved in this week’s collision had a background in the trucking industry, with vast experience on heavy vehicles, before his appointment at Putco in September 2011, Matsaneng said.

His first issue of a bus licence was in 2002.

The Citizen has received numerous complaints about Putco bus drivers following the accident on Monday.

“I share the road with Putco buses every day, and I must say it is a petrifying experience,” said reader Hector Moyane.

“Each time I see the Putco bus in my rear mirror, I immediately look for a safe lane to be far and away... these buses are often driven at a terrifying speed for a vehicle their size.”

Motorist Almarie Hide said she often watched Putco buses drop off passengers in the middle lane of the N1 Rivonia Road off-ramp.

“I took it up with Putco, who assured me this practice would stop. It has not,” she said.

Matsaneng said that drivers were put through a disciplinary process immediately if they were found guilty of recklessness.

“If there is a repeat offence, they lose their job,” he said.

By Yadhana Jadoo
The Citizen 29/06/12

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