A Lentegeur man riding on an N2 MyCiTi bus on Monday says he was surprised at how quickly it burst into flames after it started smoking.
Mogamat Allie, a regular commuter on the express bus from Mitchell’s Plain to the Civic Centre station, in Cape Town, boarded at the Sesame bus stop at about 7.20am on Monday January 9.
It was near Bhunga Avenue that passengers at the back of the concertina bus started shouting and running to the front, he said.
The driver and about 60 passengers disembarked shortly afterwards and some 20 minutes later, the bus burst into flames.
“One or two cars passing by hooted at the driver signalling smoke at the back of the bus,” he said
“At first I thought maybe someone fainted or that it was a medical emergency, but the fear on their faces told me another story.
“There was smoke in the back of the bus. The driver pulled over and the passengers calmly got out,” he said.
Mr Allie said he had kept his distance from the smoking bus, fearing an explosion similar to the Christmas Eve Boksburg gas explosion that claimed 37 lives.
A colleague fetched him from the scene.
“I stood too far away to hear any instructions from the driver or whether another bus would be sent.”
He said that many of the passengers then got into taxis and were picked up.
“I’m not sure whether they communicated that another bus would be coming,” he said.
Rob Quintas, mayoral committee member for urban mobility, said the fire had started shortly before 8am and its cause was being investigated. No injuries were reported.
The City would investigate the cause of the fire with help from the vehicle operating company, independent assessors, insurers, and the vehicle manufacturer, and more details would only be available once the assessments were done, he said.
“I’m extremely grateful that nobody was injured during this incident. I want to thank the passengers and the bus driver for staying calm and responsive, and I also want to express my appreciation to the SAPS and the City’s firefighters for their prompt assistance.”
A replacement bus had been on the scene within minutes to transport the passengers to the Civic Centre station, said Mr Quintas.